10 Best Lightweight Operating System for old Laptop

Brief: List here is for those who want to bring new life to old computers or notebooks these are one of the best lightweight Operating Systems available for old Laptop and Computers

What to do with old computers that once we’re great but now are performing slowly due to aging hardware. Or you might be like me who doesn’t like to throw the old stuff and why should you as these computers can still be pretty great with just a change of operating system. Try any one of these best free lightweight operating system to bring a new life to your old computer or notebook.

While we are here focusing on older computers these operating systems can be used with relatively new hardware also to give a boost to your resource-heavy tasks like video editing on Linux.

10 Linux lite


If you are looking for fully functional out of the box distro, Linux lite might be for you it’s one of the best lightweight Operating System for old laptop. Linux lite doesn’t require high-end hardware. Linux Lite is a beginner-friendly operating system which means it will be not much difficult for first time Linux users. It is based on Ubuntu Lts (Long Term Support release. This gives the OS support for 5 years(you should receive updates for 5 years after every release.)

Linux lite is not a stripped-down of the operating system but it includes software like Firefox, Libre Office, Thunderbird, Vlc, GIMP, GNOME Disks and much more. Linux lite uses Xfce GUI and with the inclusion of full complement software, it’s one of the best distros for new users with old hardware.

The minimum system requirements for Linux lite are:

  • 700 Mhz processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • VGA screen of 1024×1078
  • DVD Drive or USB port for iso image

The recommended system  requirements for Linux lite are:

  • 1.5GHz processor
  • 1024 Mb RAM
  • VGA, DVI or HDMI screen capable of 1366×768 resolution
  • DVD drive or USB port for iso image

9 Lubuntu

Lubuntu is a fast and lightweight operating system suited for old laptop with a clean and easy-to-use user interface. As the name suggests it is based on Ubuntu and uses the minimal desktop LXDE/LXQT, and a selection of light applications. Because of this, Lubuntu has very low hardware requirements.

Lubuntu can work on nearly 10-year-old computers and comes with Firefox for browsing and other applications for basic tasks. The user interface of Lubuntu is very simplistic and makes it a great choice.

Minimum system requirements of Lubuntu are:

  • 512 MB of RAM(1 GB recommend)
  • Pentium 4 or Pentium M or AMD K8
  • VGA screen of 1024×1078

8 Elementary OS

Elementary OS is a beautiful, fast and lightweight distro. It can be downloaded for both 32 and 64 bits. It is based on Ubuntu and a Pantheon desktop environment, a derivative of GNOME. But this distro being light is not as light as others in this list it requires not more than a decade old computer.

Elementary OS is designed to look and give a feel like Mac OS which is beautiful. This OS is also beginner-friendly and doesn’t require much knowledge of Linux. Elementary Os has also their own app store so that people using Linux first time can directly download apps from it. It supports some great features like Picture in picture mode, Multitasking view. It’s one of the best free lightweight Operating Systems out there and highly suited for old Laptops.

It should work with:

  • 1 GHz Processor
  • 512 Mb RAM
  • VGA of 1024×786 PX
  • DVD or USB Drive for ISO image

But to get the proper performance and smooth experience recommended system requirements are:

  • Core i3 processor
  • 4gb of RAM
  • Vga of 1024x786px
  • DVD or USB Drive for the iso image

7 Lxle

Lxle is based on Lubuntu with a specific purpose to revive old computers and laptops. It’s based on LXDE desktop environment while being lightweight it’s also aesthetically appealing and comes with basic preinstalled software.

According to Lxle’s wiki, internet usage takes the most amount of system resources as it’s quite lightweight and the resources used by the system are quite low.

Minimum system requirements for Lxle are:

  • 512 MB RAM
  • Pentium 3 processors
  • 8gb of hard-drive space

Recommended system requirements are:

  • 1 GB of RAM
  • Pentium 4 processor
  • 8 GB of hard drive space

6 Zorin OS Lite

Zorin OS Lite is designed in such a way that you can get the feel of the desktop environment which you are familiar with. Zorin can easily look like Mac Os, Windows, Ubuntu. This OS is designed to be lite but comes with various preloaded apps.

Zorin can easily be your daily driver and replace your default os without high demands of hardware. It comes preinstalled with Wine which lets you install Windows software on Linux.

To install Zorin OS with very simple steps see this guide.

Minimum system requirements for Zorin OS Lite are:

  • 512 MB RAM
  • 700 MHz Single Core – 64-bit or 32-bit
  • 8 gb of hard drive space

5 Bodhi Linux

If you have ever searched for Linux distros chances are you would have seen Bodhi Linux name in it. Bodhi is built on top of Ubuntu LTS featuring Moksha desktop. It’s based on a minimal base system so that you can install the software according to your requirements.

To make a populating system with software easy Bodhi Linux has its an online database of lightweight software that can be installed in one click. This makes this operating system lightweight and it can run on even on a 500 MHz processor.

Bodhi Linux minimum system requirements:

  • 256 MB of RAM
  • 500 MHz processor
  • 5 GB of hard drive space

Recommendation system requirements are:

  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1 GHz processor
  • 10 GB of hard drive space

4 Ubuntu Mate

Ubuntu Mate is one of the best Linux distros when it comes to lightweight OS. It’s lightweight but also has tons of features and it’s highly customizable also. It has a balance between lightweight and usefulness from first the boot.

When creating a list of lightweight Operating System for old laptop Ubuntu Mate must be in it. It is modern looking with great aesthetics and gives you many layout options out of the box. These are Mutiny, Traditional, Cupertino, Redmond, Contemporary, Netbook and Pantheon. It’s actually an Ubuntu lightweight desktop.

Minimum System Requirements for Ubuntu Mate are:

  • 750 MHz processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1024 x 768 resolution

3 Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is a very lightweight Linux distro that you don’t even need to install on the hard drive you can directly install it on a USB flash drive and you are ready to go. You can install it on your hardware but there is really no need.

Puppy Linux is created on the principle of the lightweight operating system hence it doesn’t require much space all it requires is 300 MB or less at the time of writing this article. Puppy Linux boots into a ramdisk and, unlike live Cd distributions that have to keep pulling stuff off the CD it loads into RAM.

The minimum system requirements of Puppy Linux vary according to versions but a minimum of 256 RAM seems standard for comfortable running.

2 ArchBang Linux

ArchBang Linux is based on Arch Linux and inspired by CrunchBang. Which was another small Linux distro. ArchBang is basically Arch Linux made easier and reduced in Size. It includes power and flexibility like Arch Linux but without the complex setup and installation process.

It can be installed using a command-line interface but it is easy when compared to Arch Linux ArchBang can replace desktop OS or can also be used a live disk. The desktop of ArchBang is minimal and simple

Minimum System Requirements for ArchBang are:

  • 256 MB of RAM
  • 700 MB of disk space
  • 1024 x 768 resolution

1 Tiny Core Linux

When we are listing the best free lightweight Operating System for old laptop Tiny core has to be in it. Tiny Core as the name suggests it’s one of the lightest Linux distro available out there. It’s only 15 mb its even less than the size of a video song. The Tiny core was forked from Damm Small Project but now it’s developed independently.

This Linux tops the list because of its size as its perfect for even the old ancient computers. Being so tiny it boots faster and comes with minimal software preinstalled.

Tiny Core Minimum requirements system requirements are:

  • 46 Mb of RAM
  • Pentium 2 CPU


f you don’t have a very old ancient Laptop you should choose Linux Lite or Zorin OS as these are lightweight but also come with lot of features and can be your daily driver. But if you have a very old system than you should choose from Tiny core, Bodhi Linux or Puppy Linux.

Here are to 5 best Linux distros for beginners.

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