What’s a family friendly Linux distribution for older PCs?

Mario October 30, 2014
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I have an old Dell Inspiron N5010 laptop in which I would like to install a user-friendly Linux distribution in order for family members to surf the web and check their e-mail.

About a year ago, I had set up a dual-boot between Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 7 (Windows was the default OS and was running very slow despite constant maintenance).

A few weeks earlier, I replaced Ubuntu 12.04 with Linux Mint 17 XFCE due to graphics driver issues. It worked well at first, but more recently it is constantly giving me error messages and the shutdown menu doesn’t work, so I intend to replace it with something else.

Laptop Specs

  • Intel Pentium P6100 dual-core CPU @ 2.00 GHz
    2GB of RAM
    ATI Radeon HD 5650
    320GB HDD ( 5GB Partition for Linux)

Is there a distribution that will work well with this hardware and with the available disk space?

  1. joebee
    December 4, 2014 at 1:57 am

    I world recommend Linux Lite 2.0 Easy to transition from windows, XFCE desktop, and very stable.
    Based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
    Recommended Hardware/Minimal System requirements:
    700 MHz processor+
    512 MB RAM+
    5 GB of hard-drive space+
    Down the road you will need increase hard drive disk space.

  2. Bruce E
    November 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I'm running Debian on a Compaq Presario 912RSH with a Mobile Athalon XP 1.4MHz processor, 256 MB RAM, and a 40GB hard drive. Your setup outclasses this by a very large margin, so any Debian-based distro should work easily provided you give it enough disk space. If you are going to drop everything (except swap) in a single partition, you should allocate at least 40GB so you have adequate space for /var/log and /home, though you would be better served having a separate partition for /var so log files won't consume other space or cause the entire system to crash if the log files get too large. For similar reasons, you should also have a separate partition for /home. The / partition can be fairly small if you want to separate that one as well. I have frequently used a / partition that is less than 1 GB.

  3. Col. Panek
    November 15, 2014 at 1:27 am

    My "new" laptop is the same age as yours. I keep cutting my Windows 7 partition down, since I never use it, and now it's 100 GB. In my other partitions (40-50 GB) I run openSUSE, Mint 17, and either Bodhi, Puppy, or Zorin. The rest is a /home for all to share. Try any on a live disk to see which you like (and run well).

  4. Oron J
    October 31, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Your laptop has great spec that will run almost any Linux out there, but as Dragonmouth said, you need to give it more disk space. Don't be stingy! If you have a 320 GB drive, surely could spare it 10-20% of the total space, perhaps more!

  5. Susendeep.D
    October 31, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Linux mint is still good.Try giving Linux much more HDD space.You can try uing LTS version of it i.e. Maya for low resource consumption.

  6. ha14
    October 31, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Bodhi Linux Is Beautiful & Works On Very Old Computers [Linux]
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/bodhi-linux-beautiful-works-computers-linux/

    6 Lightweight Linux Distributions To Give Your Old PC A New Lease of Life
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-lightweight-linux-distributions-give-pc-lease-life/

  7. Rajaa Chowdhury
    October 31, 2014 at 6:18 am

    System Requirements
    What do I need to run Bodhi?
    The minimum requirements to run Bodhi Linux are only: 300+MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, and 2.5GB hard drive space!

  8. Rajaa Chowdhury
    October 31, 2014 at 6:15 am

    Try Bodhi Linux from http://www.bodhilinux.com/

  9. dragonmouth
    October 30, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    First of all, 5 GB is not enough space for any but the most minimalist of distros. Both Ubuntu and Mint are far from minimalist. You need at least 10GB for the root partition and at least that much for /home partition.

    You did not say what error messages Mint was giving you although I suspect it was probably about running out of space.

    Other than Ubuntu and Mint, you can try Zorin, ElementaryOS, Mageia, openSUSE, Bodhi, Lubuntu/Kubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Slitaz, Pinguy, Peppermimnt. Stay away from Slackware, Arch, CentOS and Debian as they require some prior Linux knowledge. Puppy is user friendly but allows for only one user.

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