Lightweight Linux distribution for older laptops (2019)

Do not discard your old PC or laptop. You can use lightweight Linux distributions to make them as good as new. Some of these Linux distributions are dedicated to older machines.

You can use any lightweight Linux distribution and get your old computer back to normal. In terms of our primary focus on older releases, we do have new releases that don’t require much resources to reinvent old computers.

Are you in any or all of the following situations?

  • Your computer can still be used
  • Your computer is modern but runs at low power
  • You need to install a modern computer to reserve resources for other difficult tasks

If you encounter any of the above situations, then the best option is to start looking for the best lightweight Linux distribution for older computers.


Lubuntu Linux best distribution

Minimum system requirements

  • Pentium II or Celeron CPU with Physical Address Execution (PAE)
  • 128 MB of Ram
  • 2 GB hard drive

As the name suggests, Lubuntu is a member of the popular Ubuntu series. It runs on the LXDE desktop environment, so it is one of the official versions of Ubuntu. Lubuntu works very well on older computers, and its speed and support for older hardware shows its lightness.

It has a set of applications and software with tools such as office, internet, graphics applications and related utilities. Applications running in Lubuntu use fewer resources, and they have better options if needed.

You can access thousands of other packages through the Ubuntu Software Repository. When the operating system was merged with Razor-qt to develop LXQt.

2. Linux Lite

Lightweight Linux distribution Lightweight Linux distribution

Minimum system requirements

  • 700 MHz processor speed
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • Resolution 1024 X 768
  • 5 GB hard disk space

Starting with its name “lite”, this means that no high-end hardware is needed. Even beginners can use it for the first time. Linux Lite runs on Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) with a support life of up to five years.

The operating system functions normally, no additional software is required after installation.

Some pre-installed applications, such as Firefox for web browsing, Thunderbird for email, Dropbox for cloud services, LibreOffice, VLC media player, GIMP for image editing, and Lite adjustments for adjusting desktop settings.

Using a simplified XFCE desktop environment, and the fact that it is based on Ubuntu means that you will get more support and resources for your reference.

3. Small core

Tiny Core Lightweight Linux Distribution

Minimum system requirements

  • 46 MB of RAM, 64 MB recommended
  • Pentium II processor

TinyCore is one of the lightest Linux distributions with a very small memory footprint of only 16 Mb !. It has evolved from small projects to run independently. The distribution is minimal and has almost no software installed.

This release uses FLTK / FKWM and busy desktop by default. Some components of the hardware graphics may be missing, but you can install them manually. Tiny Core is available in three different versions, namely CorePlus, Tiny Core and Core.

At its core is a basic system using a command line interface (CLI). For advanced users, this release will work just fine as long as they don’t need a graphical interface (available in the TinyCore version).

CorePlus is an image that is perfect for users using a wireless network. The installation tool provides basic settings of the Windows Manager to be used, wireless support through different firmware files, keyboard support, and remake tools.

The size may surprise you, but it functions as a large operating system, especially when installed on older PCs and laptops.

4. AntiX Linux

AntiX Lightweight Linux Distribution

Minimum system requirements

  • 256 MB RAM
  • Pentium III processor
  • 7 GB hard disk space

antiX is a distribution based on Debian Linux and has a systemless Linux distribution. The window manager that comes with the operating system is icewm, which keeps the system’s resource requirements low.

There is no bundled software, but if you have internet access, you can always download and install.

5. Mint

Mint release

Minimum system requirements

  • 1 GB RAM, 2 GB recommended
  • Intel x86 processor architecture
  • At least 4 GB of free hard disk space

Peppermint’s original design was designed to make it look like a web-centric approach, with netbooks in mind. It is a cloud-based Linux distribution with minimal hardware requirements.

The desktop environment is also based on Ubuntu and uses LXDE to provide a smoother experience for its users. Peppermint uses the ICE application to integrate websites into desktop applications.

It has a perfect user guide, and new users can use the forum to troubleshoot problems and find more useful resources.


Lightweight Linux distribution for older laptops (2019)

Minimum system requirements

  • 512 RAM, 1 GB recommended
  • Pentium III, recommended Pentium IV
  • 8 GB hard disk space

LXLE is more or less another version of Lubuntu LTS, and for some, it’s a Lubuntu tweak specifically for older PCs and laptops. Lightweight with the best and intuitive user interface.

This release was tuned to improve performance and take advantage of various lightweight applications installed by default.

7. Bodhi Linux

Bodhi Linux

Minimum system requirements

  • 256 MB RAM
  • 4 GB hard disk space
  • GHz processor

Bodhi Linux is lightweight and can bring vitality to your old PC and laptop. It has no additional software to reduce image size and run freely with less memory. The benefit is that you can customize the software you need to install.

The software package inspired this distribution to run faster than other window managers used in other Linux distributions. You don’t need to worry about using the enlightenment program or any other software package, as Bodhi Linux has a user guide that is useful in this case.

Some basic applications are provided, such as Midori for the web, Ephoto for graphics, and ePad for editing text. Multimedia applications are not available during the installation process, but are available through the App Center.

8. CrunchBang ++

Emergency Linux

Minimum system requirements

  • 512 MB of RAM
  • Pentium IV processor

CrunchBang’s other name is CBPP or #! ++ or CrunchBang Plus Plus. The distribution is a clone of the Linux distribution CrunchBang Linux, which is known for its simplicity and lightness. CrunchBang ++ is designed to work with older computers without any bottlenecks.

The distribution is based on Debian 9, and its minimal interface design uses an open window manager. The overall design is to provide an easy-to-use interface with good functionality. This simplicity explains it as a minimalistic, simplified and stylish interface.

Some of the default applications in CrunchBang ++ are terminal emulator, Geany IDE, Gimp for image editing, Thunar file manager, VLC media player, XFburn burning software, Viewnior image viewer, Iceweasel for network, gFTP Transfer client, AbiWord for office applications, etc.

9. SparkyLinux


Minimum system requirements

  • 256 MB of RAM if you are using LXDE, Openbox, Gameover and e17. 384 MB of RAM for MATE and LXQt
  • I486 or AMD64 processor
  • 5 GB hard disk space

SparkyLInux is another lightweight distribution that can be used on older and modern computers. This release runs immediately after installation. It is based on Debian’s test branch with multiple desktop environments.

This release has two versions: the full version and the basic version. The full version of the application does not require manual installation. The basic version has no heavy applications, which means it is light and does not consume a lot of computer resources.

The benefit is that you can install all of its applications from its repository. Each version of SparkyLInux has different default applications. Therefore, you need to choose your taste carefully.

10. Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux

Minimum system requirements

  • 64 MB RAM, 256 MB recommended
  • 333 MHz processor speed

Puppy Linux is considered one of the best lightweight Linux distributions because it takes up less memory, ease of use, customizability and flexibility and can be found there. It can easily run on an old PC or laptop, and many applications are bundled in the installation disk. This distribution can be run from a small USB memory stick or in a real-time system.

Everything it does is kept in RAM, which makes the system run very fast; if you are running a real-time system via USB, you can save some data in it. Puppy Linux uses Openbox and JWM window managers as the default window manager. Both do not consume most of the system resources.

When using Puppy Linux, it is best not to place too many demands on its graphics applications, and it is best to use the features provided by the system for better results. This release is designed to improve performance, with no applications bundled except for basic applications such as AbiWord for word processing, selected graphic editing tools, media player and Gnumeric for spreadsheets.

11. Trisquel Mini

Trisquel mini

Minimum system requirements

  • Use minimum graphical user interface requirements
  • 256 MB RAM
  • Any Pentium processor

Trisquel Mini is a small, lightweight version of Trisquel-based Ubuntu LTS. The software is designed for older machines and laptops with low power consumption and low specifications.

It uses the smallest LXDE desktop environment and X Windows system and is a perfect replacement for GNOME or KDE / Qt Apps. You can use the Synaptic package manager to install software.

The installation media can be run as Live CD media. The graphical representation is roughly the same as Ubuntu.

12. MX Linux


Minimum system requirements

  • CD / DVD drive (and BIOS capable of booting from this drive) or active USB (and BIOS capable of booting from USB)
  • Modern i686 Intel or AMD processor
  • 512 MB RAM memory
  • 5 GB free hard disk space
  • Used as LiveUSB, 4 GB free

MX Linux is a stable and popular Linux distribution based on Debian. At the time of this writing, its current version is 18.3. It comes with an XFCE desktop with many features and custom features by default. The user interface is very basic and simple. This simplicity echoes the philosophy of MXLinux. Beginners should be easy to get started, and professional users can make customizations that suit them. MX Linux is known for its high performance while keeping it simple on the UI. It comes with several built-in applications that allow you to do everything from managing your repository to adjusting your desktop.

13. Devuan Linux


Devuan Linux is a fork of Debian that unexpectedly runs on older SysVinit instead of the latest systemd init now used by modern Linux distributions. However, it comes with its own package repository, which is very similar to Debian’s upstream. It comes with Xfce as the default desktop background, which is ideal for PCs with low RAM and CPU resources.

Minimum system requirements

  1. 15GB hard disk space
  2. At least 2GB of RAM; but the more the better
  3. USB or CD / DVD boot support

in conclusion

That’s all we have for you today. We want you to make a more informed decision when choosing an old distribution to restore an old machine. With easy access to support forums and tutorial guides, installing any of the above lightweight Linux distributions is a good choice.

You don’t need to do detailed research when dealing with small distributions, because all you need is an application that relies on fewer system resources and has a simple user interface. As long as the installation is maintained, there is no problem using any lightweight Linux distribution.

Don’t forget to tell us about the Lightweight Linux distribution you have used or plan to use in one of your old PCs or laptops.