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10 Best Lightweight Linux Distros To Revive Your Old Computer

A lightweight Linux distro is the perfect solution if you have an old computer that you want to breathe new life into. Lightweight Linux distros are designed to use less system resources and are very easy to install. When it comes to choosing a lightweight Linux distro, there are a few things to consider.

First, what kind of hardware are you running? If you have an older machine with limited resources, you’ll want to choose a distro that is designed for low-resource systems.

Secondly, what kinds of tasks do you want to use your machine for? A lightweight distro will be more than sufficient if you’re just looking to do some basic web browsing and email. However, if you’re looking to do more demanding tasks like video editing or gaming, you’ll want to choose a distro with more robust features.

Finally, what is your level of experience with Linux? If you’re a complete Linux beginner, you’ll want to choose a distro with a friendly user interface and plenty of documentation. However, if you’re an experienced Linux user, you’ll likely be able to get by with a more minimalist approach.

No matter what your needs are, there’s a lightweight Linux distro out there that’s perfect for you. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 of the best lightweight Linux distros available.

Best Lightweight Linux Distros


There are a number of Lightweight Linux distros available, each with its own unique benefits and features. In order to help you choose the best one for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 lightweight Linux distributions.

1. Tiny Core


Tiny Core Linux

Tiny Core Linux is just that, tiny! It is one of the smallest Linux distros available, weighing in at less than 10 MB. Despite its small size, Tiny Core Linux comes with a wide range of features and applications. This software is perfect for older machines or systems that have very limited resources.

By default, it comes with FLTK/FKWM and BusyBox desktop. A total of three types of editions are available: Core, Tiny Core, and CorePlus. It has a set of installed software programs, but you can install other applications later if needed.

In addition, if you are looking for a lightweight Linux distro for your ARM device or Raspberry Pi? Tiny Core Linux might be just what you need. Despite its small size (the vmlinuz file is just 11MB), Tiny Core Linux contains everything you need to get started, including a root filesystem and a bootloader.

What’s more, Tiny Core Linux is highly customizable, so you can add or remove features to suit your needs. Best of all, it’s free to download and use. So why not give Tiny Core Linux a try? You might be pleasantly surprised by what it has to offer.

2. Linux Lite


Linux Lite

Linux Lite is another lightweight distro that is perfect for older machines. It is based on Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) releases, so you’ll always have access to the latest security updates and package upgrades.

Linux Lite comes with a wide range of pre-installed applications, including an office suite, media players, and internet browsers. Linux lite is based on Xfce, a fast and lightweight desktop environment.

3. Trisquel Mini


Trisque

Trisquel Mini is a lightweight version of the popular Trisquel Linux distro. It is designed to run on older machines with limited resources. Trisquel Mini comes with a number of pre-installed applications, including an office suite, internet browser, and media player.

This distribution is based on the minimal LXDE desktop environment and X Window System. It offers a perfect alternative to traditional GNOME or KDE/Qt applications with its easy-to-use Synaptic Package Manager that can install all of your necessary software in just one click! You’ll also be able to try out this OS using its Live CD, which provides you familiar Ubuntu graphical installer during the installation.

4. Puppy Linux


puppy_linux

Puppy Linux is one of the oldest and most beloved lightweight Linux distros that takes up minimal resources and is perfect for old machines. It’s slim, sleek, fast, and relatively small in size, making it perfect for use on older computers or laptops with limited storage.

It comes pre-loaded with unconventional but useful apps like Homeback, AbiWord, MyPlayer, etc. The latest version of Puppy Linux is based on Ubuntu which gives users access to the ubuntu software repository.

Puppy Linux can also be used to manage Samba shares and has a special edition called FossaPup that is certified “grandpa-friendly.” In addition, Puppy Linux comes with a utility called QuickPet that makes it easy to install common software packages with just a few clicks.

So if you’re looking for a lightweight distro that is both easy to use and packed with features, Puppy Linux is a great choice. And best of all, it’s free to download and use. So why not give it a try today?

5. SliTaz


slitazAre you looking for a lightweight Linux distro that still supports 32-bit hardware? Look no further than SliTaz. This incredible little OS is simple in design yet packed with features and functionality. Plus, it’s 100% free and open source.

SliTaz runs the Openbox window manager and includes a variety of open source apps. The SliTazPanel makes installing and managing packages easy, while the anchor SliTaz feature allows you to install the OS on a USB stick easily. Windows users will find the low RAM version especially appealing, as it can run on as little as 24MB of RAM.

SliTaz is also a rolling distro with two branches (stable and cooking) that are regularly updated with the latest software releases. So why not give SliTaz a try? You won’t be disappointed.

6. Q4OS


q4osQ4OS is a lightweight Linux distro that is rock stable and designed for KDE users. It comes with a custom profiler app that makes it easy to install on Windows machines and supports 32-bit machines.

Q4OS boots quickly and uses the Trinity desktop environment, which is lightweight and easy to use. Trinity is a lightweight DE that is perfect for older computers or systems with limited resources.

The default Q4OS installation includes all the essential codecs needed to play common audio and video files and KDE’s Kickoff menu. A 64-bit edition is also available. In addition, Q4OS comes with Lookswitcher, a handy tool that allows you to change the look and feel of your desktop quickly.

Whether you’re looking for a fast and lightweight distro for an old computer or simply want to try something new, Q4OS is worth checking out.

7. BunsenLabs Linux


bunsenlabs-lithium-settingsLooking for a small Linux distro that’s big on features? Look no further than BunsenLabs Linux. Based on Debian, BunsenLabs is a great choice for 32- and 64-bit machines with 2 GB of RAM or less.

The Openbox window manager keeps things light and fasts while providing all the necessary features. And speaking of features, BunsenLabs comes packed with them. The tint2 panel and conky system monitor keep you up to date on all your system info, while jgmenu provides a feature-rich desktop menu.

Plus, there are plenty of GTK2/3 themes and wallpapers to choose from. Best of all, the BunsenLabs community is friendly and helpful, so you’re never far from a solution if you run into any problems. So why wait? Give BunsenLabs a try today!

8. Porteus


porteusPorteus is a tiny Linux distro that can run from a CD, USB flash drive, hard drive, or other bootable storage media. It’s only under 300Mb, but it’s a fully functional 32 & 64-bit distro that can run directly from the system RAM.

Porteus is Slackware-based and comes with KDE, MATE, Openbox, LXQt, Cinnamon, Xfce, and LXDE desktop environments. If you’re looking for a lightweight and portable Linux distro that you can use on any computer, Porteus is an excellent choice.

9. antiX


antixantiX is a lightweight Linux distribution based on Debian. It is designed for use on older or under-powered hardware and can be run without a need for additional drivers. The distribution comes in three editions – “Core” for basic computers, “Full” for more Feature-rich systems, and “MX” for media center PCs.

antiX offers a wide range of applications, including a web browser, office suite, email client, and multimedia player. The distribution can be bootstrapped from a live CD or USB drive and installed on either an internal hard drive or an external storage device.

antiX is a systemd-free Linux live CD distribution based on Debian Stable for Intel-AMD x86 compatible systems. The antiX Magic iso is a great way to try out the features of antiX without installing it on a hard drive. The recommended minimum RAM for antiX is 256MB, and the minimum hard disk size for installation is 5.0GB.

The fast-booting rescue cd can be used to boot into antiX and run ‘live’ with or without ‘persistence’ on a USB stick or ‘frugal’ on a hard drive. IceWM is used as the default window manager, together with the Rox file manager.

Debian-based distros are known for their stability and wide software repository, and antiX is no exception. Whether you’re looking for a new primary operating system or a reliable rescue option, antiX is worth considering.

10. Absolute Linux


Absolute_LinuxAbsolute Linux is a lightweight Linux distro that is designed for speed and simplicity. The distro is based on Slackware and uses the lightweight IceWM window manager. Absolute Linux comes with a wide range of essential applications, including a web browser, office suite, email client, media player, and more.

The distro is highly customizable and can be adapted to suit a wide range of needs. Absolute Linux is an excellent choice for users who are looking for a fast, lightweight, and Hector-friendly distro.

Honorable Mention


Some Honorable Mentions of Lightweight Linux Distros are given below:

  • Bodhi Linux
  • Peppermint OS
  • Manjaro Linux XFCE Edition
  • wattOS
  • Lubuntu

This is a very small list of the best lightweight Linux distros, but there are hundreds of tiny distros out there you can find on DistroWatch. But I have chosen the above one based on stability, less resource consumption, ease to use, simple interface, and solid security. The above lightweight Linux distro is very easy to install, has a simple interface, and runs smoothly on older computers and netbooks.

How to Choose the Best Lightweight Linux Distros for you?


Lightweight Linux distros are ideal for a variety of purposes. If you’re migrating from Windows, you’ll appreciate the vast software repository and the ability to pre-load apps.

You’ll appreciate the low system requirements if you have an old PC. And if you’re looking for a fast, easy-to-use operating system, you’ll appreciate the sleek interface and simple setup process. In short, there’s a Lightweight Linux distro for everyone.

So how do you choose the best one for you? It depends on your needs. If you’re just getting started with Linux, we recommend Linux Lite. It’s a great introductory distro with a huge software repository. If you’re looking for something more lightweight, try Tiny Core. Both are perfect for older PCs.

If you want something even lighter, try Puppy Linux or Slitaz. These two distros are designed to be as lightweight as possible, so they’re perfect for netbooks and other low-powered devices. Whichever Lightweight Linux distro you choose, we think you’ll be happy with the results.

FAQ


Q: What are Lightweight Linux Distros?

A: Lightweight Linux distros are designed to be fast and easy to use. They are perfect for older PCs and netbooks.

Q: What is the best Lightweight Linux Distro for me?

A: It depends on your needs. If you’re just getting started with Linux, we recommend Linux Lite. It’s a great introductory distro with a huge software repository. If you’re looking for something more lightweight, try Tiny Core. Both are perfect for older PCs.

Q: What are the minimum system requirements for Lightweight Linux Distros?

A: It depends on the distro. Tiny Core Linux, for example, can run on PCs with as little as 128 MB of RAM.

Q: Do Lightweight Linux Distros come with a GUI?

A: Yes, most Lightweight Linux Distros come with a graphical user interface. However, some (like Slitaz) can be run without a GUI.

Q: How do I install Lightweight Linux Distros?

A: Most Lightweight Linux Distros use a graphical installer, so installation is easy. Simply download the ISO and follow the prompts.

Q: Can I use Lightweight Linux Distros on my Raspberry Pi?

A: Yes, Lightweight Linux Distros are perfect for the Raspberry Pi. We recommend Raspbian Lite for the best results.

Finally, Insight!


There are a number of lightweight Linux distros available, each with its own unique features. The ones featured in this list are chosen based on their stability, low resource consumption, ease of use, and simple interface. Hopefully, this article has helped you find the best lightweight Linux distro for your needs. If not, feel free to check out some of the other options on DistroWatch.

What’s Your Favorite one?


Do you have an old computer or a netbook? What lightweight Linux distro are you using? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends. Thank you.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Fast Linux is great for older hardware. It’s a DIY load of Debian tailored for old computers. I’m using it now on a 1.2GHz cpu laptop!

  2. For me, best choice are Puppy family from the lighter Thar to Xenial or Bionic and Linux Lite. We need a light distro that have some basic software (Libre Office or, at least. Abiword, VLC, simplescreen recorder, that records areas of your screen and as such can copy Youtube videos, Gimp, etc), easy installation of extra applications and a browser that can digest sites with lots of CSS coding. Older browsers can not handle them. Even some browsers can not read microsoft site!

  3. Interesting article, but I have a really hard time seeing anything based on Ubuntu as light weight. And the Lubuntu minimums are pure fantasy. It won’t even run on a system with the base specs they state–Pentium II is pure fantasy. Some tester may have a PII they tricked it into running on, but it fails on all of mine. On a PIII is is a hopeless pig, and unusable though it sort of runs. P4 is possible, but it’s still very, very slow. Atom single core is just as bad.

    I haven’t tried the new Puppy yet, but it’s considerably heavier than its earlier versions. I do look forward to giving it a spin on my older systems.

    Tiny Core really is light, but it’s more like an embedded Linux than a regular light Linux.

    Unlisted, even as a “contender”, is AntiX. AntiX Full will run capably on a 700MHz Atom with 1GB of RAM. A second GB makes it much faster. It needs just a smidge over 4GB of disk to install. It runs amazingly well off a USB stick or SD card, even on an old system with USB 2.0. And that’s the -heaviest- version of AntiX. From heaviest to lightest the AntiX versions are Full, Base, Core, and Net. Base drops LibreOffice and a couple of other full-fat applications, Core has only the most basic graphic interface, and Net is headless.

    • Thank you, Mark Graybill! An honest comment.

      I’m getting a bit tired of seeing upper-middle weight distros being passed off as light. Also getting tired of fanboys not seeing their fav distro listed (regardless of the theme of the article) and asking “What about my bloated distro? Why isn’t my bloated distro not listed among lightweight distros for old computers?”.

      As soon as I see Lubuntu on any list of lightweight anything… I move on. The only two that are lightweight on this list are TinyCore and Puppy. Tried them both. Also tried antiX – amazing on old hardware. I even like MX on old hardware (a kinda’ fuller-featured version of antiX) – it’s faster than Linux Lite and Lubuntu. Source? I actually try them all on my old equipment.

      • Have you tried Trisquel Mini? I don’t think you have cos you didn’t write it off as not being lightweight. It’s one of the lightest on the list. I just tried it yesterday and when idle, it was taking 150 mb of ram. Is it not lightweight?

    • Agree…IMHO MX16 is totally underrated…I love Puppy Linux but haven’t found a more functional, hassle free and fun distro than MX16.

    • It’s a Small list of lightweight Linux distros. So i could not accumulate all but i have included peppermint in mentionable para.

    • Basically, it’s really difficult to enlist only 5 lightweight Linux Distros. I am totally agreed with you. Gentoo Linux is one of the smallest Linux distros.

  4. What is great about Puppy Linux is that they have several different sub-projects, each geared to a specific level of newer or older hardware. What I usually do on a person’s computer is to start with Lubuntu if the hardware isn’t really old, and then work through the various Puppy’s if I have to, until I find a version that is speedy enough. It is all about a trade-off of GUI and features verses speed. I have a lot of practice with people wanting to replace XP with an OS that continues to get security and application updates.

    • This piece of information, you shared, is really useful and effective for those who want to use Lightweight Linux Distros in their old machine. Thanks for your valuable comment.

  5. I have used many of them because I have no money enough to buy a modern PC or Laptop like many people of course and the best for me is Puppy Linux. Thanks for the article. See you.

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