Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/172987/revive-your-old-pc-the-3-best-linux-systems-for-old-computers/
Windows 8 may be lighter than Windows Vista, but it’s nowhere near as lightweight as these free Linux distributions. If you have an old Windows XP PC or a netbook, you can revive it with a lightweight Linux system.
And once again Arch Linux is forgotten. With LXDE, Arch will actually be lighter than Lubuntu, because it has lesser services running (you enable the services you need, rest is your choice).
Sadly the newest major version of Slax can't be used for old computers any more, but it is still very suited for running on USB stick or out-of-box use, and its modularized software management is also quite convenient.
Arch Linux sure is the best with no doubt, but the core idea of it kind of intends to give you the picture of what under the hood that how Linux works, which is a little unfriendly to newbies. Fortunately, Arch Linux has very comprehensive wiki pages, as long as you follow the instructions you won't do anything wrong.
Peppermint i386 runs great on older computers. One of the best full featured O/S's for older hardware
For those having to upgrade from a PC with Windows XP I would recommend Linux Mint XFCE Edition. It's lightweight (not in extreme as those mentioned, but it is lightweight), fast, easy to use for those moving from Windows (single, bottom panel similar to Windows XP), and has a lot of useful software by default, such as Firefox, LibreOffice, VLC, media codecs, and so on.
Crunchbang is the best lightweight distro I've ever found.
Arch is not forgotten...it is INSANE for anyone who has never used Linux before. Think about it. Who are the people who would be needing to use a extremely lightweight distro? People with VERY VERY old computers...people who are able to run Arch care about their computer and likely don't have such an old computer.
Arch is one of the best distros by far but it is also one of the two most complicated and frustrating distros in existence...the only competition it has when it comes to "ripping your hair out" would be Gentoo...though both could easily be lightweight.
For those who have decent computers I would agree that Mint is the best Windows -> Linux conversion distros but it wouldn't work well on a VERY old computer such as a 512mb RAM or less computer.
"Best" is an opinion qualifier. Why is it the best to you? What benefits does it have over other distros that compete in the "Lightweight" realm?
Personally, I like Crunchbang as a concept and for the most part the distro is nice. However, Crunchbang is not "Windows Migrator Friendly". Openbox is not a good DE for people who are coming from Windows for the first time.
Agreed, Peppermint is a better solution for very old computers than Lubuntu. It is based on Lubuntu but it improves the lightweight aspect in many ways. In fact, the size of the ISOs are even 100mb smaller for Peppermint.
The options you provided are rather flawed.
VectorLinux Light is just a DE update for Vector Linux 7.0 which has not been updated in 2 years. Considering how fast development is for Linux in every aspect, it is irresponsible to suggest a Distro that has been dormant for 2 years.
Puppy Linux was a great concept but it is convoluted and confusing since there is both puppylinux.org and puppylinux.com - if that wasn't enough, Barry (PuppyLinux Creator) has said that PuppyLinux official is no longer going to be updated with full releases, it will only be maintained in "maintenance mode". from the PuppyLinux Blog.
Lubuntu is a very good distro but if lightweight is truly an issue there are many other options...with that said Lubuntu is a very good Distro. So this mentioned is not a flaw but not mentioning the lighter distros really is.
You should have mentioned other Lightweight distros like PeppermintOS, AntiXOS, or for the extreme cases Tiny Core.
PeppermintOS is a distro for those who like Lubuntu but want something a little more lightweight. Peppermint is based on Lubuntu but has even more focus on speed and being lightweight.
AntiXOS is designed for computers that have as low as 128MB of RAM...of course this is insanely small. AntiXOS downloadable ISOs come as small as 140mb with many different DE options such as IceWM, Fluxbox, JWM, etc.
Tiny Core Linux is by far the smallest/lightest distro available. The recommended ISO file is only 15MB with the largest version with all the bells and whistles is only 72MB. Tiny Core recommends nothing lower than 128MB of RAM for best performance but it will actually work on computers with as low as 46MB of RAM.
Lubuntu has really brought my netbook back to life. Best thing that ever happened to it.
Hi. Thanks for the info. For my 2cents I'll add DSL (DamSmallLinux). It is back being maintained again and is on DistroWatch. For a live cd I really like Puppy, it is neat but I have never installed it to a system. There are many different versions, I kind of like Suli-pup the best but there are many more. I'm running Xp on most of our old machines here at the house, but on my main one I went for Mint. I like it as a live cd so I just installed it as a dual boot option. Liked it so much I just got rid of XP altogether. I tried Mint15 for a couple weeks but it is still a little rough, at the moment. Rolled back to Mint13 LTS with the Mate desktop and I'll stick with it for a while. Thanks for the tip on Lubuntu, I hadn't tried it before. I think I'll give it a chance for one of my old junkers!
Linux? OMG - where's the 'vomit' smiley?
ignorant trolls always have to show up.
It is always the people who don't know jack about Linux who say crap like that. Guaranteed they have no idea that the www.howtogeek.com website is actually powered by Linux.
Totally irrelevant what powers this website.
And I have tried it. It's rubbish, totally user unfriendly.
Which is probably why its share of desktop O/S's is less than 2 %.
Yes. TWO per cent.
And I've been using PCs since the late 70's.
Actually it is because of many reasons like 90% of Windows users have never even heard of Linux. Computer Manufacturers like HP, Dell, etc don't sell computers with Linux as a preinstalled option. They have dabbled in it every now and thing but they typically provide Ubuntu as the preinstalled option and Ubuntu is crap.
Anyone from Windows should try Linux Mint or ZorinOS because those are both VERY user-friendly.
Claiming Linux is rubbish or not user-friendly is because you made mistake in what you tried. There are MANY options for Linux and yes there are MANY options that are not only unfriendly but even some that can be classified as hostile to newbies....BUT there are also many options for people who are not tech savvy and even versions for people who are computer illiterate.
You had a bad experience and therefore are claiming that all Linux is rubbish simply because you had a bad experience.
Actually Linux is great for every kind of user but of course it can be confusing for some such as people who have never installed an OS before may not be a good choice to install it....so they should go to a Linux Meetup Group in their area and ask for help to install it.
Everyone has their own pet distro, and I tried to focus on fairly common and easy ones. I've used Arch before and loved it, but I wouldn't recommend it to new Linux users.
Thanks for suggesting so many other options! The discussion will be interesting to readers looking for altarnteives.
I like your Avatar @Baht , but the combination of that and your post reveals you.
Shows you don't understand
Shows you had a bad experience
Shows you don't really follow the Linux trend since even governments are adopting it
I too, have been playing with computers (since before the advent of the PC) for a long while. But after buying my first one, when I got my second, I started taking apart the old one to see how things worked and see what I could do with it. I've been building and playing with computers since, but I was also brought up with the concept that "work" was effort and this wasn't "work" it was play to my way of thinking, so my learning was self taught. I loved Windows when I first used it (Look, a Desk Top!), but once it started taking over my computer and telling me what I could and could not do, I started exploring, and ran across Linux! Wow! I had my computer back again! But at the same time, my Wife and One of my bosses (I've always had 2 jobs) was all about Windows and weren't interested in learning something new, so I've been a slow Linux learner. But, I can tell you from experience, Linux has some very user friendly distributions (that's user, as in, someone who does not know the Router from the CPU, or how to uninstall a game once they've put it on the computer to play it (that would be my Wife, they are respectively, that box thing and the computer box))
So just because you've been "Using" computers, it neither makes you an expert, or, a flagship for the rest of Windows Users. It just makes you typical of some who think they know enough to be.
Sorry, I didn't mean to ramble.
Back on topic:
I think the article does show those who are interested in alternatives that allow use of older equipment, and the comments show a more "in depth view" for those that are actually interested in following through. I'm glad @hopponit brought up DSL as I was surprised it wasn't in the article, but then I haven't touched on it in quite a few years so I wasn't even aware it had dropped off radar for any length of time, and I don't really remember how easy or hard it was to use.
It was Linux Mint that I tried. For 10 days. Never again.
Have you heard of the Thai currency, the "baht". That's where I live, so that's my name.
Of course it's irrelevant what powers this website. Desktop PCs don't run on Linux - except less than 2%. (Apart from the ones that are sold with Linux to keep the price down - the ones that people immediately wipe and install a pirated Windows on).
But web servers, mail severs, etc. do, and good luck to them. They need Linux geeks to look after them. PC users generally are not geeks, although I would consider myself a Windows geek.
I enjoyed your ramble - I, too, like to control what my computer does. That's why I don't like Windows 7 or 8 - too much is hidden and the changes are mostly "form over function".
I just checked my "scripts" folder (command files). Currently has 2,022 files in it. I like to do things my way and command files and macros let me do that.
There was one setting that I wanted on my Linux Mint - mouse trails. So I went to a Linux tech site and found out how to download and install a mouse theme package. I did that, went to "System Settings", clicked the "Keyboard and Mouse" icon and tried to find the "mouse trails" feature. Not there. So I went back to the forum and read some more. Some poor sucker - not me - asked "What is 'Terminal' and where do I enter the commands?". The response from the uber-geek with many thousands of posts to his credit was: "Well, if you don't know what 'Terminal' is, are you sure Linux is the operating system for you?".
So that was over a week of my life I won't get back again. No more Linux for me.
I'm curious @Baht . If you tried Mint, am I that you set it up by yourself?
A guy at a computer club that I go to was handing out discs with it on. If I remember correctly, you could boot from the disc or install from the disc. So I did both - I tried it first, then installed it.
Everything worked OK but I didn't like the look and feel of it so I tried customising the desktop. After I had so much trouble trying to find out how to do a simple thing like adding mouse trails, I couldn't be bothered any more.
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