Best of Linux

Best Linux Distributions for An Old Laptop in 2021

Unlike Windows and Mac, Linux still provides lifelong support for older machines with its various distributions. This is what I like most about Linux and its distributions. Even if you cannot carry out larger tasks, you can still carry out normal day-to-day tasks such as web browsing, writing/editing word document, watching movies, or listening to music. So why throw your old machine if you can still make use of it?We will look at the best Linux distributions that can be easily used and installed on older computers with minimal hardware. Some of the Linux distributions listed here might be useful for beginners also.

So, let’s get started and have a look at lightweight Linux distros for an old laptop.

Slax

Slax is a pocket operating system; yes, this what the developers call it. Slax is a modern, portable but lightweight operating system that integrates well with older machines and laptops. This Linux distro has a clean and beautiful design.

You can install Slax on a USB flash drive so that you can carry it anywhere in your pocket and run on any computer. Maybe that’s why they call it a pocket operating system. Slax is based on Debian, which ensures good community support and updates.

Slax ships-in with a handful of useful pre-installed applications such as Terminal, Web Browser, and others. It is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. This installation ISO file size is just around 270 MB, which makes it an ideal Linux distro for older laptops.

Minimum System Requirements:

Processor: i686 or newer
RAM: 128 MB (for desktop use), 512 MB (for web browser use)
Peripherals: CD or USB Drive to boot OS.

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Zorin OS Lite

Zorin OS Lite is another lightweight Linux distro that runs smooth and fast on machines as old as 15 years. This distro has a Windows desktop layout, which makes it ideal for Windows users, as this will make the transition from Windows to Linux easier.

It is also an ideal Linux distro for beginners as it has a simple but attractive user interface, which makes it easier to use and get used to.

Minimum System Requirements:

Processor: 700 MHz Single Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit or 32-bit processor
RAM: 512 MB
Storage: 8 GB
Display: 640 x 480 Resolution

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Linux Lite

Linux Lite is free to use the operating system, which is ideal for beginners and older computers. It offers a great deal of flexibility and usability, which makes it ideal for migrants from the Microsoft Windows operating system.

The user interface is clean and intuitive, which makes it look like a modern operating system. It is based on Ubuntu LTS and can be updated in just 2 clicks. More than 1000 applications to choose from, which can be installed and used for free.

Minimum System Requirements:

Processor: 1 GHz
RAM: 768 MB
Storage: 8 GB
Display: 1024 x 768 Resolution

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Bodhi Linux

Built on the top of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Bodhi Linux is a lightweight Linux distribution ideal for older laptops. They call this distribution as Enlightened Linux Distribution.

It has a very active and friendly community, so rest assured of seamless support. It is faster as compared to other Linux distributions. This distro also ships in with essential apps such as web browsers and terminals.

System Requirement:

Processor: 500 MHz (32-bit) and 1.0 GHz (64-bit)
RAM: 512 MB
Storage: 5 GB

Get it here

Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is a lightweight Linux distro that can be easily installed and used on 32-bit and 64-bit older PCs. It can be easily booted from CD, DVD, or USB flash.

One thing that might go against this distro is that it doesn’t come with some necessary apps installed, but it is one of the fastest Linux distros that work effortlessly on older laptops.

System Requirement:

Processor: 900 MHz
RAM: 300 MB

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Peppermint OS

Peppermint OS is a lightweight Linux distro well known for its stable and superfast nature. It is a highly customizable distro as it is built on a long term support code base.

Community support makes it an ideal OS for beginners as well as older laptops. The user interface is clean and modern, which makes it easier to get used to for newbies.

System Requirement:

Processor: Intel x86
RAM: 1 GB
Storage: 20 GB

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Lubuntu

Lubuntu is a very popular lightweight Linux distro. It is a fast and energy-saving operating system, which makes it ideal for low-end computers. It comes with an essential suite of apps like office and multimedia apps.

It gives you a complete desktop experience on low-end computers and laptops. The user interface is simple and clean, making it ideal for new users and Windows users.

System Requirement:

Processor: Pentium II or Celeron
RAM: 128 MB
Storage: 2 GB

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These are the best 7 Linux distros I have found, which are best suitable and can be relied on for older laptops. There are other distros available but might not provide community support and regular updates. Feel free to share your views with us at @linuxhint and @SwapTirthakar.

About the author

Swapnil Tirthakar

A Software Engineer who loves football and passionate about traveling. I often spend my free time playing with gadgets and exploring new possibilities in tech world. I am Linux enthusiast and have about 6 years of experience in web development. I have good command on Python, Java, SQL and system security.