Lightweight Linux Distros

Best Lightweight Linux Distros for Old PC/Laptop in 2023

Are you having an old computer or your device is low-powered and you need a lightweight Linux distro to use with it? Then you are on the right page as the article below describes some of the best Lightweight Linux distros you can use right now.

  • MX Linux Overall Best Lightweight Linux Distro
  • LinuxLite Best with Customized Xfce Desktop Environment
  • Puppy Linux Best Lightweight Linux Distro for Developers
  • antiX Best Lightweight Linux Distro for a Live CD
  • LubuntuBest Lightweight Linux Distro for Games

Best Lightweight Linux Distros

A lightweight Linux distribution is the way to go if you are seeking to breathe new life into your old computer. This is because Lightweight Linux distribution requires some very minimum requirements and will run smoothly on very old computers. With lightweight Linux distribution, you can build your server, and you will be amazed at how efficiently it works.

Similarly, the lightweight Linux distribution is efficient in the utilization of system resources. Most other operating systems take up 40–60% of the system resources. With a lightweight Linux distribution, you will be left with a lot more resources for your system to work with. And importantly, carry out tasks.

Although Linux has other distributions, lightweight Linux distributions are designed for simplicity. Essentials are most of the time made with simplicity in mind, avoiding all forms of complications. This makes it stable and reliable.

What makes a Linux distro lightweight

A Linux distribution is said to be lightweight if it uses less memory. Or has less processor-speed requirements than either the mid-weight or “feature-rich” Linux distribution. Linux lightweight distros achieve lower memory usage by avoiding software bloat. It leaves out features that are perceived as having little or no practical use or advantage. Linux lightweight distributions are principally designed to use little memory. This means low disk space and CPU time, ensuring that only the necessary resources are used. The operating systems often come pre-built with lightweight desktop environments.

Best Lightweight Linux Distribution in the Market

One thing you would notice is that you could possibly revive your old, dead PC because of the features of a lightweight Linux distribution. Oddly enough, a lightweight Linux distribution can even be used to build a server. So, now that we are aware of what makes lightweight Linux distributions unique, Let’s take a look at some of them below.

MX Linux — Overall Best Lightweight Linux Distro

  • Min. Processor: Modern i686 Intel or AMD processor.
  • Min. RAM: 2GB  RAM
  • Min. Storage: 20 GB of hard disk space

The antiX and MX Linux groups teamed up to create MX Linux. This ultimately makes MX Linux a family-like lightweight distribution. It is made to blend elegant and effective desktops, contained within a very stable operating system. Antix's features work effectively together to generate a strong performance. Hence, making it the best overall distro. Similarly, MX's graphical tools offer a simple approach to doing a wide range of activities.

The live USB and snapshot tools that were carried over from antiX add amazing portability and remastering capabilities, but there is also a wealth of help in the form of tutorials and documentation. It has a welcoming forum. It contains some really good tools, including the Dolphin file manager. And KDEConnect makes routine tasks easier. It is a fast package installer that supports Debian Backports, Flatpaks, Popular Apps, and MX Test Repo. It supports a wide variety of hardware, including both newer desktop computers and older laptops, like other lightweight Linux distributions.

Pros & Cons of MX Linux


  • Excellent default settings are included with MX Linux.
  • The default installation of MX Linux includes a wide range of apps to help you be productive.
  • AdBlocker is already installed by default on MX Linux.
  • Using MX Linux, you can change a lot of system settings via a GUI application.


  • Hibernation is not enabled by default in MX Linux.
  • Single-click appears to be preferred over double-click in MX Linux.

Linux Lite — Best with Customized Xfce Desktop Environment

  • Min. Processor: 1.5GHz processor
  • Min. RAM: 1GB RAM.
  • Min. Storage: 20 GB of storage

Linux Lite is one of the best lightweight distros based on Debian and Ubuntu. It is specifically developed to make Windows users – especially those with old machines – transition to the world of Linux. It is best with a customized implementation of Xfce as its desktop environment. And runs on the main Linux kernel.

Similarly, Linux Lite aims to appeal to Linux beginners and Windows users. By trying to make the transition from Windows to Linux as smooth as possible. To achieve this, the distribution tries to conserve many of the visual and functional elements of Windows.  Thus recreate an experience that can is familiar to Windows users. Additionally, the distro also sets out to “dispel the myth that Linux is hard to use”. Furthermore, the desktop is clean. It's easy to access the Menu and system settings. Navigating around your Desktop is simple and intuitive.

Pros & Cons of LinuxLite


  • It has a to-use to use user interface
  • It has a Forum community for timely support, and look through our comprehensive, built-in Help Manual
  • Linux Lite includes LibreOffice. Microsoft Office compatible, which means you can open and use all of your existing Microsoft Office files


  • It requires Regular Updates and Security Fixes
  • Require enabled Legacy mode

Puppy Linux — Best Lightweight Linux Distro for Developers

  • Min. Processor: Pentium 900 MHz CPU
  • Min. RAM: 512 MB RAM
  • Min. Storage: 20 GB of storage

One of the best Linux distributions is Linux Lite, which is based on Debian and Ubuntu. It was created expressly to help Windows users, especially those with outdated hardware, make the switch to Linux. It functions well when using an implementation of the Xfce desktop environment. It runs using the primary Linux kernel.

Similar to Linux Lite, Windows users and beginner Linux users are the target demographics. by making an effort to facilitate the switch from Windows to Linux. The distribution makes an effort to preserve many of Windows' visual and functional components in order to do this. As a result, mimic a Windows user's comfortable experience. The distribution also aims to “debunk the idea that Linux is difficult to use.” The desktop is also clean. The menu and system settings are easily accessible. Your desktop is easy and intuitive to navigate.

Pros & Cons of LinuxLite


  • It has an easy-to-use user interface.
  • It has a forum community for timely support, and you can look through our comprehensive, built-in help manual.
  • Linux Lite includes LibreOffice. Microsoft Office compatible, which means you can open and use all of your existing Microsoft Office files.


  • It requires regular updates and security fixes.
  • Require enabled Legacy mode.

antiX — Best Lightweight Linux Distro for a Live CD

  • Min. Processor: Intel and AMD x86 compatible systems.
  • Min. RAM: 256MB
  • Min. Storage: 5 GB hard disk size.

Similar to Linux Lite, Windows users and beginner Linux users are the target demographics. by making an effort to facilitate the switch from Windows to Linux. The distribution makes an effort to preserve many of Windows' visual and functional components in order to do this. As a result, mimic a Windows user's comfortable experience. The distribution also aims to “debunk the idea that Linux is difficult to use.” The desktop is also clean. The menu and system settings are easily accessible. Your desktop is easy and intuitive to navigate.

If you have antiX, you can continue to use that old PC. AntiX functions amazingly well whether used lightly on a hard drive or running live, with or without persistence. It can also be used as a rescue CD with a quick boot option. You are able to alter your version or take screenshots of an installed system using their live remastering tools. Moreover, antiX includes the pre-installed SpaceFM Desktop Environment (DE), which is based on the GTK library.

Pros and Cons of antiX


  • Extremely lightweight and has a 70–90 MB memory footprint.
  • Quick installation The installation procedure for antiX is quick and painless. It installs the OS and Grub in no time.
  • Works well on 32-bit PC Fewer distros are available to work on 32-bit machines. This works well on an old Toshiba. On older machines, it is quick enough not to notice any lagging.
  • Stats appear on the desktop.


  • Lacks an intuitive user interface
  • Limited hardware compatibility
  • It has a difficult learning curve.

Bunsenlab Linux — Best Lightweight Linux Distro for Openbox Desktop

  • Min. Processor: 32-bit and 64-bit architectures
  • Min. RAM: 256MB RAM
  • Min. Storage: 2GB of disk space.

A lightweight and adaptable OpenBox desktop is available with the BunsenLabs Linux Beryllium distro. They offer live CDs that are combined. as well as i386 (i686) and amd64 (x86-64) installation disks for the Debian operating system.

The amd64, i386, and armhf processors are currently supported by their main repository (arm32v7). Also Debian ports for arm64 (aarch64, arm64v8). In essence, they only perform in-depth testing on amd64 and i386. They have a strong community that can assist with any configuration problems. Similarly, they regularly improve their effective bug-reporting system. There is a wealth of important documentation on its forum. Also, it offers new users an installation guide.

Due to the use of the easy Debian installer, the installation procedure is relatively simple. It is ready for use in a matter of minutes. Firefox is the pre-installed web browser. But you can also quickly install Chromium, Google Chrome, or Opera.

Pros & Cons of BunsenLabs Linux


  • Sensible keyboard shortcuts.
  • A good post-install script that launches on the first boot.
  • It includes the option to install PAE support.
  • Great auto-update menu
  • Awesome user interface


  • Cannot be installed offline.
  • Synaptic package manager does not come with either apt-xapian-index.
  • It does not install a firewall by default.
  • It cannot mount LUKS-encrypted external drives.

Lubuntu — Best Lightweight Linux Distro for Games

  • Min. Processor: 1 GHz Processor
  • Min. RAM: 700 MB
  • Min. Storage: 5 GB of available space.

With a simple and intuitive user interface, Lubuntu is a fast and light operating system. useful for games as well. The new Lubuntu desktop is made simpler to use by the Arc theme and Papirus icons. It is just a Linux system with a few lightweight apps and the minimal desktop environments LXDE and LXQT. This results in relatively low hardware requirements for Lubuntu. Mario Behling was the one who started Lubuntu. Although it is basically Lubuntu, it is made for computers with less power.

But it also runs smoothly on newer hardware, and similarly, it comes with essential apps and services for daily use: office applications, a PDF reader, an image editor, music and video players, etc. It also comes with Discover Software Center to download the required app that suits your needs. This comes at no cost. Lubuntu is offered in many ISOs for several computers. Like standard PCs, laptops, the Raspberry Pi, etc. This means you can install it anywhere.

Pros & Cons of Lubuntu


  • Like Windows, it has a repository called Lubuntu repositories.
  • It has enhanced its speed.
  • Provide a great user experience.
  • It allows you to place icons on the desktop.
  • It supports a right-click drop-down menu.


  • It doesn't have the features you expect in a modern computer.
  • The project no longer supports 32-bit hardware.

Absolute Linux — Best Lightweight Linux Distro for Graphic Design

  • Min. Processor: Intel/AMD 64-bit architecture
  • Min. RAM: 64 MB of RAM.
  • Min. Storage: 1 GB of storage.

Absolute is a 64-bit Linux distribution based on Slackware. It concentrates on “desktop” use so that it is ready for internet, multimedia, document, and general home use right out of the box. Absolute is lightweight, meaning that it can run on modest hardware and that the OS interface stays out of your way. But includes the latest software like Inkscape, GIMP, LibreOffice, Google Earth, Google Chrome, Calibre, etc. It is version-compatible with Slackware, so you can use almost any package from the same version of Slack on Absolute.

It contains a lot of useful custom scripts and utilities. Which simplifies the configuration and maintenance of the installation. Absolute Linux uses a graphical frontend to XPKGTOOL. It has many common desktop and Internet applications installed and configured with tight integration of menus, applications, and MIME types. It uses IceWM, a stacking window manager for the X Window System.

Pros & Cons of Absolute Linux


  • It gives its users a great, rich variety of software options.
  • It gives room for manual text file-based configuration.
  • It allows for adding and removing software from any installable Absolute Linux USB flash drive.
  • It has many script utilities that make the configuration and maintenance of the OS simple.


  • Has very little documentation.
  • Requires a steep learning curve.

LXLE — Easy to Use Lightweight Linux Distro

  • Min. Processor: 64-bit Processor
  • Min. RAM: 1 GB of RAM.
  • Min. Storage: 10 GB of hard drive space

LXLE is an easy-to-use lightweight desktop Linux distribution based on Lubuntu and featuring the LXDE desktop environment. Light on resources and heavy on functions. It is always based on Ubuntu/Lubuntu LTS. You can boot it up, and it will be online in less than 1 minute. It uses an optimized LXDE user interface. Very simple, elegant, and familiar desktop user interface. It prudent full-featured Apps preinstalled.

Latest stable versions of all major apps. It has added PPAs and extended the available software. Expose, Aero Snap, and Quick Launch apps It has random and interval wallpaper changer theme consistency throughout the system. 100 gorgeous wallpapers are preinstalled. It is light on resource usage. And very heavy on function. It is also available on 32- and 64-bit operating systems.

Pros & Cons of LXLE


  • Smooth installation process.
  • It has clear documentation.
  • It has a consistent theme.
  • It is a nice “light and fast” desktop operating system.
  • It has “rich” software.
  • Compared to others, it is “stable.”


  • It has localization issues.
  • It does not support wine Stable.

Porteus Kiosk — Best Lightweight Linux Distro for Privacy

  • Min. Processor:  x86_64 architecture
  • Min. RAM: 1 GB of RAM.
  • Min. Storage: 1 GB of storage space (2 GB for persistence).

Porteus Kiosk is a lightweight, portable Linux distro that has been restricted to allow only the use of the web browser. Furthermore, the browser has been locked down to prevent users from tampering with settings or downloading and installing software. When the kiosk boots, it automatically opens the Firefox or Google Chrome browser to your chosen homepage. History is not kept, and no passwords are saved.

For complete protection, numerous menu elements have also been blocked. All caches are deleted when the browser is restarted, and it automatically reopens with a clean session to make sure there is no remaining history. It can be installed on CD/DVD, USB flash drives, hard drives, and SSD/eMMC devices. Or any other bootable storage media such as Compact Flash or SD/MMC memory cards. It's small and insanely fast, which allows you to start up.

Pros & Cons of Porteus kiosk


  • Porteus Kiosk supports over 8000 inkjet
  • It's free and based on open-source components.
  • It's secured by design.
  • It's modular


  • It's locked down by default.
  • It does come with a desktop-enabled environment.

Q4OS — Best Lightweight Linux Distro for Everyday Usage

  • Min. Processor: 300MHz CPU
  • Min. RAM: 256MB RAM.
  • Min. Storage: 3GB disk storage

Q4OS is a fast and friendly desktop-oriented operating system based on Debian Linux. It provides a set of dedicated utilities and specific optimizations. It is combined with a focus on getting a productive system quickly. Hence, assisting people who want to get a working environment tailored to them. Individual needs and preferences From this perspective, we can say Q4OS is suitable for both newcomers and experienced computer users.

A user can relatively and easily set up a fitted system thanks to special Q4OS tools while removing unnecessary programs and components. As a result, Q4OS operates more quickly and effectively. It doesn't make use of computing or memory resources. It reduces useless tasks and processes, thus using memory efficiently. It is dual-desktop ready. Giving it that edge in setting up multiple desktop environments. Typically, plasma and Trinity sit side by side without interfering with each other.

Pros & Cons of Q4OS


  • It is a general-purpose Linux distro.
  • has superb performance on new computers
  • It is suitable for virtualization.
  • It is best for cloud use.


  • No graphical installation routine is available.
  • Its installer lacks any automated hard drive partitioning tool.
  • Its installation lacks the usual first-run setup routine provided in most other Linux

SliTaz — Best Lightweight Linux Distro Forensic

  • Min. Processor: i486 or x86 Intel compatible processors
  • Min. RAM: 192 MB of memory
  • Min. Storage: 4 GB of USB stick, CD or DVD

SliTaz is a secure and high-performance operating system using the Linux kernel and GNU software. Best used for file rescue, data recovery, and disk forensic purposes. SliTaz takes the game to another level with its automatic hardware detection. Furthermore, the SliTaz website is available in different languages. Hence extending its use beyond just English speakers. It is suitable for use on older hardware, like other lightweight Linux distros. Similarly, you can as well boot from a live CD or live USB. For you to seek the meaning of SliTaz, it stands for “Simple, Light, Incredible, Temporary Autonomous Zone,” according to the boot screen. SliTaz also has several custom tools, like SliTazpanel, which you use to administer every aspect of the system. One thing that is also unique about SliTaz is that it is actively developed. It is very small and full-featured.

Pros & Cons of SilTaz


  • It offers over 5000 software packages suitable for general computing purposes.
  • The Tazpkg package allows you to easily install and manage packages on your system.
  • It has different memory requirements for different devices.
  • It empowers both the desktop and the server.
  • Independently, it is a combination of GNU and Linux and has its own package manager.
  • Reasonably easier to use compared to other super lightweight desktop systems like TinyCore and Puppy.


  • By default, SliTaz offers no persistence.
  • Its 64-bit version usually fails to run many 64-bit AppImages.
  • It also does not have external repositories.
  • It does not provide the two most full-featured desktops, KDE and GNOME.


Q. What is a lightweight Linux distro?

A lightweight distribution in the family of Linux distributions has a very low memory requirement. Basically speaking, lightweight distributions use fewer resources and may be installed on both new and old systems. Similar to how the outdated computer system is revived and made usable by a lightweight Linux distribution. While you might want to think lightweight distros are meant for only old computers, newer systems can also benefit from them especially if you are looking for an OS that uses fewer resources.

Q. Are lightweight Linux distros secure?

Every lightweight Linux distribution is secure. Communities' support is what gives them security. The majority of the community always checks it against various pitfalls. If a loophole is discovered, it is often closed. Bug hunting is another feature that certain lightweights have that keeps them updated. Linux is generally considered as a secure Operating System regardless of whether the distro is lean or comes with it all of the features in this world. focus more on the specific security features each one comes with and less on the resource usage as far as security is concern.

Q. What do lightweight Linux distros do?

Lightweight Linux distributions can make it simple to upgrade your operating system and even resurrect outdated hardware. Lite Linux distributions speed up your outdated system by uninstalling unneeded applications. Therefore, even with a small memory size, you can complete your task and even create a server. The lightweight distributions listed above should be your starting point. Because all the lightweight Linux distributions can work on old laptops, provided you have the minimum amount of memory needed for the distributions to function.


A lightweight Linux distro is a game-changer for an old computer system. It breathes new energy into them and makes them come back to life. The 10 best lightweight Linux distributions listed above can serve many purposes, from gaming to building servers and programming. It is essential for a newcomer or professional to check out the list above. Because it serves as a starting point for newcomers, professionals, and hobbyists.

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