How can I install a version of Linux on an older laptop?

Preston Clark February 10, 2013

Can you put a version of Linux on a barebone older laptop? Will it work or what would I have to do to make it work?

  1. Steve Koria Sr.
    April 15, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    antiX-13-beta2 will run most computers from very old hardware from P2 with only 64mb of ram to the most powerful up to date computers.
    If you have an old computer this distribution of Linux is for you.

  2. Jandré Roux
    March 15, 2013 at 5:25 am


    Yes you can install Linux on an older laptop or pc You will find that Linux is less resource hungry and gets "more" out of the pc. That is it feel faster.

    Ubuntu/Kubuntu or any other derivative would be good to use.

    Download the live cd's and give it a go.

    You will find that there are active forums for Ubuntu and Kubuntu with lots of helpful people, just waiting to answer your questions

    And then later on give OpenSuse a go. It is a more comprehensive linux variant

  3. Jim Waldo
    February 24, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I have a 12 year old Toshiba laptop that our teenager gave up on because it was too slow. It still has the Designed for Windows XPsticker on it. I used the MOU guide about giving an old PC new life with Ubuntu - it was easy and the laptop works just fine - not a speed demon - but MUCH faster than WIN XP. If you are concerned check out the many distros that you can run as a LIVE CD. Good Luck.

  4. David Ramirez
    February 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I am quite happy running AntiX ( on my older desktop - which was a snail under WinXP - it recognized everything there (audio, video, added wireless card) and performs quite well.

    • dragonmouth
      February 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Good on you!

      I started out with antiX Core and added only the apps I need. Now I have a system that runs fast on an older PC. antiX could revive many old PCs destined for the scrap heap.

  5. dragonmouth
    February 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Need more info. "Bare bone older laptop" is a very vague description. Please provide more detailed specs. Depending on those specs, your choices may be from barely being able to run a minimal distro Puppy or Damn Small Linux to being able to run a full version of Debian, Fedora or Mageia.

    I have an Dell Inspiron 7500 and a ThinkPad T21. Both are P3E based laptops. I run full blown Linux distros on both - Simply MEPIS on one and PCLinuxOS on the other. Neither one is blazing fast but neither are they slow as molasses. They work well.

  6. Javaid Hussan
    February 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    just tell me the configuration of system, and i may suggest you the right linux distros to choose from.
    As a general guide Bodhi linux, Ubuntu / Xbuntu is also a good choice can found it on

    Good luck with your search.

  7. Switchblade Rebirth
    February 12, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Puppy Linux, or any other Linux distro that uses Super Low resources will do

  8. Gaurav Joshi
    February 12, 2013 at 3:39 am

    tryout lubuntu xubuntu or linux mint xfce edition install using usb with unetbootin if u don't have cd/dvd drive

    • dragonmouth
      February 14, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Lubuntu, xubuntu or especially Mint may not be suitable for older PCs. While they may have a lightweight desktop, they still retain the Ubuntu core which is no lightweight. Puppy, Dan Small, antiX or even Bodhi are a better choice.

      • dragonmouth
        February 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm

        The developers of Xubuntu have recently announced that their next ISO release will be close to 1GB in size. Several packages, such as GIMP, which were previously excluded, will be included in the default install of Xubuntu. Definitely NOT a distro I would recommend for older computers.

  9. Scott Reyes
    February 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    It depends on what type of hardware is compatible with the software you are running. you may not be able to run certain newer pieces of software depending on what computer you have, but i find it easiest to go ahead and install it if you have already backes

  10. Junil Maharjan
    February 11, 2013 at 6:40 am

    there are lots of linux distro that works with older pc. there are distros for slow hardwares and for pcs with less hard drive. just check the one you would like for older hardwares.

  11. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    February 11, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Try lightweight distros like Damn Small, Puppy, or Lubuntu.
    Of course, you have to check whether that laptop have CD/DVD drive or not, or capable of USB booting to decide which installation method will work best.

  12. Oron Joffe
    February 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Generally speaking, you should be able to, no problem. That said, there's always the question of specs, hardware compatibility (not all versions of Linux support all hardware) and so on. Given that it's a barebones system - give it a try! The obvious versions to try are Ubuntu (or the lightweight variants mentioned by Réy), Bodhi and Mint. All have very straightforward installers, so download the ISO image, burn it onto CD/DVD with a suitable tool (or you can go via the USB-drive root, but the process is more complex) and try!

  13. Rajaa Chowdhury
    February 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Would highly recommend you to install Bodhi Linux. Very light and very fast on older hardware. Download the ISO file and do a ISO burn on a CD and boot and install it. Very simple and very refined.

  14. ha14
    February 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    try Damn Small Linux

    Minimum Hardware Requirements
    486dx or 100% compatible processor
    16mb ram (24mb recommended)
    dual-speed CDROM (quad-speed or better recommended)
    1.44mb floppy drive (for boot floppy, if needed)
    VGA monitor and video card
    a mouse (serial, ps/2, usb)
    and a higher level of computer processor

  15. Réy Aétar
    February 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    try out lubuntu or xubuntu

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