Lightest Linux Distros For Old PCs & Low Power Hardware

list of best linux distros for old hardware

Most of the Linux Distros are not as heavy as Windows’. They use less computer resources to operate successfully and even work fine with the oldest computer hardware. While the new Ubuntu and Mint distros work fine with the latest GPUs also provide users with custom settings to change the environment which is obviously not everyone’s cup of tea. 

Unlike new distros we have compiled a list of lightweight distros that work best on your old and single circuit computer hardware. 

They are designed as such which makes the old hardware seem to perform efficiently. So if you have an old device which runs on low power these linux distros will work just fine on it. These lightweight Linux Distros make the Linux experience worthwhile and make old hardware more usable. Check out these absolutely lightweight linux distros for old PCs. 

#1 Lightest Linux Distro For Old Hardware- Puppy Linux

If you are using NetBooks, Live CDs or any other old hardware Puppy Linux is for you. In order to run it successfully we have mentioned hardware configuration below for it:

  • You can Puppy Linux with RAM
  • On 32-bit system it uses only 300mbs space on your disk
  • On 64-bit system it uses 600mbs 
  • It requires 600MHz processor
  • RAM requirement 256mbs

So basically you can run Puppy Linux even on your system from the 90s. It is not based on any high-end distro but you can build it from the Slackware and Ubuntu etc. packages. It is highly user-friendly and more packages are available depending on your binary selection. 

You can boot Puppy Linux from your CD-ROM/DVD/Flash drive. 

Puppy Linux Preinstalled Apps

Puppy Linux does not come with many pre-installed applications. However there are some programs which are part of it by default that you can use:

  • AbiWord
  • Gnumeric
  • MPlayer 
  • Default lightweight browsers 
  • Package downloading utility 

Check Puppy Linux Here

#2 Best Distro For Windows – Linux Lite 

Linux Lite is based on Ubuntu LTS and is not just the best lightweight Linux distro but also the best operating system for all those who want to move to Linux and start from the very beginning. 

System requirements to install Linux Lite 

  • Processor 1GHz 
  • RAM 768MB 
  • Free Space 8GB 
  • VGA Screen Resolution 1024×768

Pre-installed Apps/Program on Linux Lite

Linux Lite comes with all the necessary apps and programs pre-installed. We have mentioned important ones below that you don’t have to install. 

  • LibreOffice
  • GIMP
  • Dropbox
  • VLC media player
  • Firefox
  • Linux Lite comes with all the necessary apps and programs pre-installed. 

Linux Lite 5.0 is one of the best distros so far as it also supports UEFI boot mode however it does not support 32-bit hardware. Despite this small change as a whole it’s the best distro for your old hardware. 

Check Linux Lite Here

#3 Best Ubuntu Linux Distro – Lubuntu / LXLE


LXLE is the official Ubuntu-based Linux distro developed by Canonical. The 19th release of Lubuntu is called Groovy Gorilla. If you want to experience Ubuntu barebones, this is the best one for you as it features the same programs as stable-mate. 

Important system requirements to install Lubuntu. 

  • Processor requirement Pentium 4 / Pentium M / AMD K8
  • RAM 1GB

Lubuntu comes with LXQt as its default desktop environment and tons of preinstalled necessary programs. The apps and programs which are preinstalled on Lubuntu are mentioned below:

  • Modern GUI
  • LibreOffice
  • VLC
  • Featherpad
  • Trojita

#4 Ubuntu LTS-based – Bodhi Linux

Bodhi is the next best lightweight distro that comes with four different versions out of which Legacy supports 32-bit while HWE 64-bit for any type of new hardware. Bodhi Linux distro is actually the continuation from Enlightenment 17 its a LTS-based and features Moksha Desktop. The main reasons for its upgrade was the latest features that come with Enlightenment 17 and Ubuntu repo packed it with tons of software further. 

Bodhi Linux versions:

  • Standard
  • Legacy (supports 32-bit hardware)
  • AppPack
  • HWE (64-bit with updated kernels)

Minimum hardware requirement for Bodhi Linux Distro 

  • Processor 500MHz 
  • RAM 256MBs
  • Storage 5GBs

Check Bodhi Linux Here

#5 Most Coustomizable Distro – Tiny Core Linux

For all those who want to customize the OS, TinyCore should be their take. It’s not just the Desktop distribution like other distros on our list. It has three different x86 cores:

  • Core – Fundamental system to be used for servers and apps with a single command line UI. 
  • TinyCore – The desktops with network connectivity should use this one as it has two distinct extensions Core and X/GUI. 
  • CorePlus – While this one is packaged with a lot of necessary default features 

TinyCore is not suitable for all those who want to try Linux Distro for the first time as it just offers the core filesystem and Linux kernel. So if someone is already familiar with the Linux ecosystem can build and customize it. The newbie will find it very challenging. All those Linux users who like customization with minimal hardware would love this distro. 

Check TinyCore Linux Here

#6 Debian Linux Distro – Q4OS

If you are looking for a Debian-based Distro that works best on a minimal hardware Q4OS is best one in this respect. To provide users with optimum productivity it comes with many useful utilities and enhancements such as Desktop Profiler, Software Center and Third Party App Installer. It completely supports x86/32-bit ARM architecture etc. 

The user can install many apps and programs depending on their requirements to make it more usable as Q4OS is beneficial for the newbie and pro users. It is also compatible with Win 10, 8 or even 7 as it comes with a Windows installer. You can use Trinity for downloads. 

Check Q4OS Here

#7 Fastest Linux Distro For Oldest Hardware – antiX

AntiX is so far the fastest Linux distro that works best with your old hardware. It’s very lightweight and can be booted from a CD or a USB flash. It has four different versions for newbie and pro users. 

  • Full Distro 1.1GB (For new users who want to try Linux for the first time)
  • Base Distro 700MB (For the new users)
  • Core Distro 350MB (For pro users who want total control over their system)
  • Net Distro 150MB   (For pro users who entertain complete control)

Minimum system requirement for AntiX installation 

  • Processor PIII 
  • RAM 256MB 
  • To make the most of AntiX live system using antiX/MX live USB is recommended
  • The Windows users need to use Rufus or its alternatives 

Check antiX Here

#8 Official Canonical Distro – Ubuntu MATE

If you are looking for an Ubuntu alternative use Ubuntu Mate specially if your PC is loaded with old hardware. Its official canonical distro that can add MATE desktop. It provides a configurable desktop with a simple OS on it. However, it’s not as light as some of our other mentions here. 

The minimum system requirements to install Ubuntu Mate are:

  • Processor 1GHz 
  • RAM 1GB
  • Disc Space 8GBs
  • Resolution 1024×768 

Ubuntu MATE Preinstalled Programs 

Its latest release based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa has a tremendous amount of features. Some of which we have mentioned below:

  • Multiple colors 
  • Theme variations 
  • Single-click installer 
  • Experimental ZFS
  • Feral Interactive GameMode 
  • Compatible with all type of old hardware including Raspberry Pi

Check Ubuntu MATE Here

If you have more than 20-year-old hardware that has become useless you can make use of it by using one of the mentioned Linux distros. There are many other lightweight distros that we have not mentioned including Peppermint OS and DSL due to bug issues and no-upgrades. 

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