10 Best Linux Distros for Old Laptops in 2024

A Complete Guide for Beginners Enroll Course Now

One way to give new life to your aging device is to install a lightweight and efficient Linux distribution. Now, the next question is with so many of them available which one of them to choose? In this article, I will discuss the ten best lightweight & most efficient Linux distros for old laptops. For that, I will specify the system requirements they need to run along with their pros & cons. Moreover, will present a comparative analysis table among them so that you can get a comparable overview of them.

Factors to Consider While Choosing a Linux Distro for Old Laptops

While choosing a Linx distro for an old laptop, try to consider the following factors to ensure that the operating system runs smoothly & efficiently,

  • Hardware Requirements: Check the minimum hardware requirements such as RAM, processor, storage, etc. to ensure that your laptop meets them.
  • Lightweight & efficient: Choose a lightweight distro that is designed to run efficiently on older hardware.
  • Desktop Environment: Choose a lightweight desktop environment such as Xfce, LXDE, Openbox, etc.
  • Stability: Some Linux distros place more emphasis on stability than others, choose wisely.
  • Software availability: Make sure to cross-check your software needs & if they are available & compatible with your hardware.
  • Community support: Check the documentation, forums, and online communities to ensure that you can get help when needed even for your backdated hardware.
  • Updates and security: Regular updates & security patches help you keep your OS updated even for your old laptop.

Top 10 Linux Distros for Old Laptops

In the following article, I will discuss the ten best Linux distros that can be perfect for your old laptops with their official download page link. Moreover, I will discuss system requirements, along with reasons why you should choose or avoid each of the distros so that you can get a clear idea about them.

Anyway, you can read the Comparative Analysis of Distros to get a comparable overview of them.

1. Bodhi Linux

If you need a lightweight Linux distro perfect for an old laptop, Bodhi Linux is an exact match. As it is specially designed to run on hardware with limited capabilities. Bodhi Linux as the best linux distros for old laptops

Download Bodhi Linux

Click here to visit Bodhi Linux‘s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing Bodhi Linux

  • Processor: 64bit, 1.0GHz.
  • RAM: 768MB.
  • Storage: 10GB of free hard disk space.

Reasons to Choose Bodhi Linux

  • Lightweight, optimized for low-end hardware.
  • Beautiful & modern desktop environment.

Reasons to Avoid Bodhi Linux

  • Not as popular as other distros.
  • Limited software availability.

2. Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is a fast distro that is ideal for users with low-specification hardware or who prefers a simple and streamlined user experience. Its meticulous installation method, user-friendly interface, and customization options make it a popular choice for many users and organizations. Puppy Linux as the best linux distros for old laptops

Download Puppy Linux

Click here to visit Puppy Linux‘s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing Puppy Linux

  • CPU Type: x86, x86_64, AMD64.
  • 32-bit Puppy’s CPU: Single-core Pentium 4 or equivalent, RAM: 512 MB.
  • 64-bit Puppy’s CPU: 64-bit dual core, RAM: 1 GB.

Reasons to Choose Puppy Linux

  • Extremely lightweight & fast.
  • Very simplistic, making it perfect for beginners.
  • Ideal for older hardware because of 32-bit architecture compatibility.

Reasons to Avoid Puppy Linux

  • Limited software selection.
  • May require additional configuration for certain hardware.
  • Not suitable for more complex tasks.

3. Linux Lite

Linux Lite is a lightweight Linux distribution based on Ubuntu LTS, designed to be user-friendly and efficient for older hardware. It comes with a lightweight Xfce desktop environment. Linux Lite as the best linux distros for old laptops

Download Linux Lite

Click here to visit Linux Lite’s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing Linux Lite

  • Processor: 1 GHz CPU.
  • RAM: 768MB (recommended 1 GB).
  • Storage: 8 GB of free hard disk space (minimum).

Reasons to Choose Linux Lite

  • Ideal for older hardware.
  • Friendly desktop.
  • Super lightweight & fast.

Reasons to Avoid Linux Lite

  • Not a fancy-looking or visually appealing desktop.
  • Legacy menu-driven desktop.

4. Linux Mint

Linux Mint is a perfect Linux-based distro for older hardware. Moreover, it is great for beginners due to its Windows-like familiar interfaces and over time has gained improvements over Ubuntu. The popular Linux Mint edition is the Linux Mint Cinnamon. Linux Mint as the best linux distros for old laptops

Download Linux Mint

Click here to visit Linux Mint‘s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing Linux Mint

  • RAM: 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended).
  • Storage: 20GB of free disk space.
  • Display: 1024×768 resolution.

Reasons to Choose Linux Mint

  • Linux Mint is compatible with most hardware from low-end to high-end.
  • It has an update manager which allows users to choose the level of updates they want to apply.
  • It provides guides to install and configure the system.
  • Comes with all pre-installed applications, with no requirement for any additional configuration or installation.
  • Users can customize appearance and behavior using themes, icons, widgets, applets, desklets, and extensions.

Reasons to Avoid Linux Mint

  • Might not be compatible with all programs or games.
  • No proprietary drivers such as NVIDIA, and ATI, are not included but can be installed via Drive Manager.
  • Some software may be outdated due to less frequent updates.

5. Lubuntu

One of the key features of Ubuntu’s flavor, Lubuntu, is its lightweight design, which makes it ideal for older or low-specification hardware. It requires minimal system resources and can run smoothly on computers with as little as 512 MB of RAM. Moreover, it includes a range of pre-installed software applications & uses minimal power. Lubuntu as the best linux distros for old laptops

Download Lubuntu

Click here to visit Lubuntu’s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing Lubuntu

  • Processor: x86 with a clock speed of at least 1GHz.
  • RAM: 512 MB (1GB is recommended).
  • Storage: 5GB of free hard disk space.

Reasons to Choose Lubuntu

  • Lightweight, easy to use, & fast.
  • Familiar interface for Windows users.
  • Optimized for low-end hardware.

Reasons to Avoid Lubuntu

  • Not as customizable as other distros.
  • Limited software selection.

6. Zorin OS Lite

Zorin OS is an easy, lightweight Ubuntu-based Linux Distribution with a Windows-like user interface. One of the lightest versions of Zorin OS is Zorin OS Lite, which is perfect for low specifications hardware hence it runs smoothly on old laptops. It’s not only light but also good-looking. Zoris OS Lite

Download Zorin OS Lite

Click here to visit Zorin OS Lite’s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing Zorin OS Lite

  • Processor: 64-bit 1 GHz single core-Intel/AMD.
  • RAM: 1GB.
  • Storage: 10 GB of free hard disk space.
  • Display: 800×600 resolution.

Reasons to Choose Zorin OS Lite

  • It’s a free open-source Linux distro.
  • It uses the Xfce desktop environment, which is highly customizable.
  • It’s stable & runs smoothly with a stunning look.

Reasons to Avoid Zorin OS Lite

  • Preinstalled Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) not activated by default.
  • Limited desktop styles in the free version.

7. Ubuntu MATE

Ubuntu MATE is a free, open-source Linux distribution that is based on Ubuntu and uses the MATE as the desktop environment. It is designed to run smoothly on older or low-specification hardware, making it a great choice for older laptops. Ubuntu MATE

Download Ubuntu MATE

Click here to visit Ubuntu MATE’s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing Ubuntu MATE

  • Processor: Core 2 Duo (recommended Corei3).
  • RAM: 1GB (recommended 4GB).
  • Storage: 8 GB (recommended 16GB).
  • Display: 1024×768 (recommended 1440×900 or higher).

Reasons to Choose Ubuntu MATE

  • The simplicity of GNOME with the power of Ubuntu.
  • Works great on old laptops.
  • Highly configurable & it benefits from Ubuntu’s stability, security & a wide range of software packages.

Reasons to Avoid Ubuntu MATE

  • Outdated user interface.
  • Some users find it redundant as any Ubuntu install can be transformed into a Ubuntu MATE.
  • Lack of a good software center by default.

8. Peppermint

Debian & Devuan-based Peppermint OS aims to provide a fast, user-friendly, and cloud-focused operating system. It works well on older hardware as well as newer computers. Peppermint OS

Download Peppermint

Click here to visit Peppermint OS‘s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing Peppermint

  • RAM: 1GB (recommended 4GB).
  • CPU: Processor based on Intel x86 architecture (recommended x86_64 amd64 processor).
  • Storage: 10GB of free hard disk space. (recommended 32GB).

Reasons to Choose Peppermint

  • Peppermint needs low system requirements making it perfect for older laptops.
  • It is a lightweight & user-friendly distro.
  • It’s highly customizable with hybrid desktop environments.

Reasons to Avoid Peppermint

  • Some users may prefer a more traditional or web-based desktop environment instead of a hybrid desktop environment.
  • Not as stable as some other Linux distributions.

9. DSL

Damn Small Linux or DSL is one of the smallest operating systems. It’s so small that it can entirely run on your RAM, with no need for a hard disk drive. DSL is based on Knoppix and Debian GNU/Linux operating systems and utilizes the Fluxbox window manager. Damn Small Linux (DSL)

Download DSL

Click here to visit DSL‘s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing DSL

  • CPU: Pentium 200MHz processor or higher.
  • RAM: 64 MB (recommended).
  • Hard disk space: 50 MB or more for a full installation.
  • CD Drive: 8x CD-ROM drive or USB port for booting from a live CD or USB drive.

Reasons to Choose DSL

  • DSL is so lightweight & portable, that it can even be installed on a USB The ISO image of the OS is less than 50 MB in size.
  • It comes with a range of pre-installed software applications.
  • Additional software can be installed using the MyDSL.

Reasons to Avoid DSL

  • You can’t expect 100% hardware support.
  • Have to connect to the web using Ethernet.
  • Outdated UI & limited software support.

10. Tiny Core Linux

As the name indicates, this is also a great lightweight Linux distro. It’s so small that the ISO image is only 21MB. This distro was founded by Robert Shingledecker, earlier who also developed Damn Small Linux (DSL). Tiny Core Linux

Download Tiny Core Linux

Click here to visit Tiny Core Linux’s official download page.

System Requirements for Installing Tiny Core Linux

  • RAM: 46MB (recommended 128MB).
  • CPU: Minimum Intel 486DX processor (recommended Intel Pentium 2).
  • Storage: 50MB of free hard disk space (uses 28MB on disk when installed, no apps).

Reasons to Choose Tiny Core Linux

  • It promotes an anti-bloatware policy.
  • Fast & reliable.
  • Best for reviving old laptops by simply booting from an SD card without needing installation.

Reasons to Avoid Tiny Core Linux

  • Too thin program support.
  • Many prefer this distro as a hobby rather than using it in daily use.
  • No stability to the Wi-Fi manager, and lacks wifi GUI. As a result, only an Ethernet internet connection can be established.

Comparative Analysis of Distros for Old Laptops

To get a comprehensive and comparative overview of the ten best distributions for old laptops that have been discussed in this article, kindly go through the following table.

Distribution Based On Desktop Environment Size (ISO)
Bodhi Linux Ubuntu LTS Moksha 1.2 GB
Puppy Linux Ubuntu JWM, Openbox, IceWM, Fluxbox 200-300 MB
Linux Lite Ubuntu LTS Xfce 1.4 GB
Linux Mint Ubuntu or Debian Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, KDE Plasma 1.8-2.4 GB
Lubuntu Ubuntu LTS LXQT, LXDE 1.6 GB
Zorin OS Lite Ubuntu LTS Xfce with Zorin Appearance & Zorin Menu Launcher 2.5 GB
Ubuntu MATE Ubuntu LTS MATE 2.5 GB
Peppermint Debian & Devuan Stable Xfce, Nemo file manager, and Ice app for web app integration. 1.5 GB
DSL Debian with BusyBox utilities Fluxbox with DFM file manager & MyDSL app for the package manager. 50 MB
Tiny Core Linux Independent with BusyBox utilities and FLTK/FLWM graphical toolkit. FLWM with FLTK apps & AppBrowser for package management. 21 MB

However, note that these numbers may vary in accordance with different distro flavors and versions.


In conclusion, by selecting the right Linux distribution, you can extend the life of your aging laptop and enjoy the benefits of using a stable, secure & efficient operating system. Throughout this writing, I tried to present some of the best Linux distros for old laptops. Hope this article helps you choose the best distro for your old laptop.

People Also Ask

Which Linux for old laptops?

There are several lightweight Linux distributions that are perfect for old laptops. Such as Ubuntu MATE, Arch Linux, Deepin, Bodhi Linux, BunsenLabs Linux, Tiny Core Linux, Linux Lite, etc.

Is Linux good for old laptops?

Yes, Linux is a great option for old laptops. In fact, many people use Linux on older hardware as it can be more lightweight & efficient than other OS like Windows. Linux distros can be optimized to use fewer system resources such as limited processing power, RAM, and storage.

Is Debian good for old laptops?

Yes, Debian can be a good choice for old laptops. As it is lightweight, stable, and can be customized to the user’s needs. Moreover, there are different Debian-based Linux distros that are also perfect for old laptops, for example, MX Linux.

Is Linux faster on older laptops?

Yes, Linux tends to run faster on low-potential older hardware than normally other OS like Windows does. In fact, some of the Linux distros are actually built on keeping minimalist system requirements so that they can be run on older laptops. For example, Puppy Linux, LXLE, Linux Lite, Lubuntu, etc.

4.9/5 - (17 votes)
Monira Akter Munny

Hello!! This is Monira Akter Munny. I'm a Linux content developer executive here, at SOFTEKO company. I have completed my B.Sc. in Engineering from Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology in the Electrical & Electronics department. I'm more of an online gaming person who also loves to read blogs & write. As an open-minded person ready to learn & adapt to new territory, I'm always excited to explore the Linux world & share it with you! Read Full Bio

2 thoughts on “10 Best Linux Distros for Old Laptops in 2024”

Leave a Comment