Looking for a fast and lightweight operating system for your old computer? You can install a fast OS to revive your old machine and turn it into a fully functional one. In this article, you learn more about the fastest operating systems which are lightweight and boot fast. Install one on your computer or laptop using a USB Drive. These lightweight OS uses fewer resources and should run fine on your old computer.
Microsoft is striving to push Windows 11 updates to eligible Windows 10 users, some users are moving to expensive Rigs and Instagram models are posting selfies in high-heels with fancy tags to gain attention; what’s left behind?
Your old computer desperately needs to breathe in the open and fresh air. Here are some of the fastest operating systems for old PC, you can install to make them young again. In order to make your old PC useful, we put together some of the best operating systems. We already discussed many alternative operating systems, which are not specifically for old PCs.
Suggested articles: 15 Best Lightweight OS for Computer: We discussed alternative operating systems not specifically for old PCs. Check out this article for more amazing options.
#1. Chrome OS Forks
Main article: 3 Chrome OS forks, pick: Chrome OS flex
Chrome OS is proprietary software you can find in Chromebooks, They are based on open-source Chromium OS. In the past, I have reviewed all the popular Chromium OS forks, especially Arnoldthebat’s builds.
The winner is none other than Google’s own Chrome OS Flex which was recently pushed in the developer channel and the good thing is anyone can install it on their computer. Android Apps are not there but Linux app support is available.
#2. Phoenix OS; good android OS
Main article and downloads: Phoenix OS
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The latest version is based on Android 7.1 which is great and stable. It’s one of the best Android OS forks for desktops. Phoenix OS is an Android operating system that started with x86 support and then extended support to 64-bit. Having a taskbar and start menu like Windows 10 made it very popular. Do you want to install it on the USB drive? No worries use the installer to do that. Additionally, install it on your hard drive. A good Android operating system for old PCs and even runs on Intel Dual-Core processors. Offers minimal power options and works as an alternative to the Windows operating system.
#3. Slax; runs on anything
get Slax and boot on your PC.
Slax is one of the lightweight operating systems that can boot directly from external media, and there is no requirement to install it on your hard drive. Based on Linux which helps to use fewer resources. However, it is a little distribution based on Linux but you can do anything like installing chat messaging programs like Pidgin or uGet download manager. Slax is available for both 32bit and 64bit processor architectures. The 32-bit version is designed to perform exceptionally better on older PCs (such as Intel 486 if you go back to 1989). It will run legitimately on fresh out of the plastic new PCs as well.
However, it is restricted in the measure of RAM it can see and constrained to 3GB of RAM most extreme. The 64-bit adaptation has no such points of confinement, yet won’t keep running on PCs more seasoned than a couple of years. On the off chance that you plan to utilize Slax on a hoary PC, or you look for a framework with the most extreme conceivable similarity, then pick 32bit. If you aim to use Slax on a fresh out-of-the-box new machine, you’d better go for 64bit. Slax Minimum Requirement is i486 or more modern CPU, Intel / AMD processors with 256 MB RAM. Other Linux OS based on either Debian or Fedora has a package management system.
It is the Fastest operating system for PC you can install to supercharge your computer. It runs on 256 MB RAM.
#4. Damn Small Linux
Damn Small Linux website
A highly flexible operating system that is around 60MB (installer) which is smaller than most used Linux appropriation. DSL has a complete desktop and a little center of order line devices. The total of what applications have been decided for the best adjusted to usefulness, size, and rate. It can also help you deal with SSH/FTP servers. You can use DSL right from an installation media like a USB drive and keep running it from it, and there is no need to install it on the hard drive. It can run entirely in RAM with as little as 128MB and is sufficiently light to power a 486DX with 16MB of RAM.
Minimum Requirement is an i486 or newer CPU, Intel / AMD processors with 64 MB RAM.
#5. Puppy Linux
Puppy Linux is another super lightweight that is designed to run on even low-end computers. If you need to make its bootable USB, it roughly cost around 100MB of space, and also the installer ISO file size is about 104MB. All you have to install it on DVD, after that you can temporarily boot from the DVD. After it’s booted, you can create a bootable USB drive from the menu which is located under Menu > Create Bootable USB. So Puppy Linux is fundamentally an effort to make your old PC usable again. The new 6.x version image file is around 200MB and is available in 32 and 64-bit. recently in curiosity, we tasted to see how this is different from the last time we used it when we wrote this article back in December 2015.
#6. Tiny Core Linux
Looking for a bare minimum version? Tiny core Linux comes in 3 versions, the lightest version called Core consists of just an 11MB ISO image. The other 2 versions TinyCore and Core plus go up to 100MB in installer size. The desktop is simple and has nothing but a bunch of icons that open the system and user apps.
get NimbleX | 4MB Zip
NimbleX is a small yet flexible working framework that can boot from CD, USB, or network environment and even from the hard drive itself. Since it runs altogether from a CD, USB, or system, it doesn’t need to be installed on the computer. Thus, you don’t need a Hard drive. In NimbleX, you can browse the web with Firefox, chat with your friends using the Kopete multi-protocol IM application, download torrents with Transmission, use DC++, and connect remotely to other computers, and much more.
The last version was released in 2013
GeeXboX is a free lightweight, and Open Source Media-Center purposed Linux distribution for embedded devices and desktop computers. GeeXboX is not an application, it’s a full-featured OS, that one can boot as a Live-CD, from a USB key, an SD/MMC card, or install on its regular HDD. It provides you with a ready-to-be-used, plug-and-play Media Center application that can play any multimedia content. And has been designed to be fully controllable through either keyboard, mouse, or a remote controller and does not require any particular computer-related skills. Also features the state of the art technologies to provide you with the best multimedia experience to make the most out of your hardware.
#9. VectorLinux Light
The ISO file of VectorLinux v7 (600+MB) is not smaller than Puppy Linux, but it runs very well on a computer with just 64MB, the standard version supports Pentium 200 or newer. Despite, there is more ultra-lightweight os such as DSL and Puppy Linux, but according to me, you might not feel very comfortable using them for a long time, but you can do all sort of things with VectorLinux.
As the name goes, Linus Lite is a streamlined Linux operating system. It’s overall a nicely operating system that comes along with popular apps such as for viewing videos there is VLC, Mozilla Firefox for browsing, and LibreOffice for dealing with documents. You can download it for both 32-bit and 64-bit from the site and the size of the image file is between 900MB – 1GB, which isn’t smaller when you compare it to other lightweight OS listed on this page.
Requirements: CPU: 700MHz processor, RAM: 512MB ram, 1024×768 resolution.
#11. 4MLinux – Lightweight OS
4Mlinux recently updated to version 39, and it’s lightweight Linux distribution, which can magically turn your old computer into a functional one the best part is you get multimedia support, tools, and those classic games. Recently we’ve seen primary Linux Distribution are killing the 32-bit architecture support, so it’s a bummer for old computers.
Fortunately, many lightweight Linux distributions support 32-bit architecture, which makes old computers play old games, watch movies, and surfing the web. 4Mlinux, as we told earlier, is a very lightweight Linux distribution that only requires 128 MB of RAM. It comes in two editions, Desktop edition for 32-bit machines and the server edition for 64-bit. You can use the Operating system as a Live rescue CD, a mini server, or a full-fledged system. As the name is not very usual, after digging a little bit 4 M in its name, tell these points.
- Maintenance: You can use it as
- Multimedia – Built-in support for major media formats.
- Mini-server – LAMP suite.
- Mystery – classic Linux games.
We’ve reviewed most of the Android OS for PC you can install on any computer, it lets you do sort of everything you could do on android mobile.
#12. Android-x86 Project
Androidx86 is an open-source project to port Android to X86 Machines. Yes! It runs fast and works on both 32 and 64-bit machines. If you use Android+ x86 build, you won’t get as many features like Start menu and taskbar, but a fully functional typical Android experience. Technically this is a stock Android forked for computers.
These are the lightweight and fastest operating systems able to run on old computers, even with 126 MB* ram. (please check minimum recommendation of any operating system before using.) Below listed operating systems are exceptionally fast and it’s easy to install them temporally via a USB. Most of these lightweight operating system is basically Linux distros.
There is an uncountable number of operating systems, and we have a separate post where we added some other top and reliable operating systems to supercharge your computer. You might want to buy a new thin and lightweight laptops. Now you know your PC can run other Operating systems and will work faster compared to Windows or Mac OSX. Give any of these mentioned OS a try to make use of your old PC. These operating systems can be a cure for your old PC.
Summing it up
It all depends on your situation, we all have an old computer which we rarely use, slapping an OS that works fine on them is good. You can give the machine to kids to help them understand the technology and get used to computers and stuff. An old slow machine is still more feasible than having nothing.
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Thank you for thinking about old computer owners. I am thinking to convert my old PC into a smart tv box
I have AMD athlon X2 3200+ (~2Ghz) CPU, ASUS M2N-MX board with integrated NVIDIA GF6100 graphics, 4GB DDR2 800Mhz RAM, 120 GB SSD (60GB for win7). Which would be the best suitable Android OS for this configuration?
Additionally If I upgrade to AMD Athlon 5600+ (2.9 Ghz) and PCIEx 16.0 GT710 1 GB graphics card, would it help to install even newer versions and which ones? If that works then to operate the Andorid based sysetm on the monitor or tv I will add up a air fly mouse.
If it worth investing then I will invest into these hardware components or else I will think to turn it into the NAS or mediacenter.
For an android tv, the best android would be the androidx86 version 9. That’s the origin of majority of the android os forked for pc.
Currently, the latest release is android 9 by androidx86 project. https://www.android-x86.org/releases/releasenote-9-0-r2.html
It’s hard to tell if this will work fine, but yeah! Androidx86, if not then try blissOS which is based on Android 10.
I guess it’s more try and tell scenario.
BEST regards, Quickfever
What is the best free open source os for a hp stream 14 Intel® Celeron® N3060 (1.6 GHz, up to 2.48 GHz, 2 MB cache, 2 cores)4 GB DDR3L-1600 SDRAM (1 x 4 GB) 32 GB eMMC internal storage HP Stream – 14-ax000na does not have touch screen please help
Damn small Linux is a good open source project, 😐 Also puppy Linux is primary open source.
But your processor is capable enough to run those unofficial Chrome OS fork. https://quickfever.com/chrome-os-for-pc/
Elementary OS & Ubuntu Operating System. is perfect Os for your computers and laptops. Elementary operating system is a fast and open replacement if you are using Windows or Mac. Besides it is not very light regarding size but has more flexibility. It is open source and has a dedicated community. and Ubuntu, it’s fast and organized, that’s true. Ubuntu comes preloaded with several apps like GIMP, VLC, Firefox, etc.
Hey there great article.
What are you thoughts about the Lubuntu ?
I have 4GB and i3 processor. would it work on that?
Lubuntu will work well on your machine.
Thanks for finally talking about OS for Old Laptops <Loved it!
Some of these distros are dormant and they do not exist anymore.
Yes cub Linux and android project remix has been discontinued and few more also seems to be outdated.
Thanks for the article. PeppermintOS would be a nice addition to the list. In my experience it’s a bit more stable than Ubuntu (eventhough it’s Ubuntu on a diet).
You can get it here: https://peppermintos.com
The only hassle with linux based OS’s in my opinion is using Canon printers. Somehow it’s not very compatible. Basic use (printing) works fine, but if you’re printer has special features like direct cd printing the nightmare begins, but that’s of topic.
Thanks again for your article.
Thanks for this post. I am creating a music studio & i was facing difficulty as to whether i should purchase a new computer or replace the OS in my old comp. So, now i will replace the OS in my old computer.
Dear seeker, accordingly to your music studio project,and even if this following distro is not a “lightweight version”, I’d therefore, advice you to try out: KXstudio which includes an amazing set of apps mainly for music and sounds, as well for videos, graphics, anyway all about multimedia production, but one more time, Musics and Sounds engines are the way is it!
You can on the very beginning: Live version, or direct install.
TIPS: My after used would recommend to install KXStudio on a Hard Drive, and so, since works files as you know will take a lot of place (e.g.: au/aup, HD video, ac3, h2xx, gimp files, …)
Advice: if you could go for an SSD for works treatment and simple SATA even 5400 rpm for stockage would be great.
Of course, I do not know how heavy is your wallet dude 😉
Distrowatch link: http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=KXStudio
Offcial Website: http://kxstudio.linuxaudio.org/
I think right place for Vector Linux should be before or after Puppy Linux, though its not small as puppy it runs on most of the systems and most importantly its stable and usable.
Puppy and DSL are good, but we can’t use them for long time, but with Vector Linux we should be able to perform almost all tasks with out any issue.
IT WAS A 64 BIT INSTALLER..
sorry it is 8gb of space i selected.
I HAD INSTALLED PHOENIX OS RIGHT NOW IN MY HP ELITEBOOK 2540P INTEL I5 X64 BIT PROCESSOR THROUGH THE PHOENIX INSTALLER I HAD SELECTED 9GB SPACE IN MY DISK SPACE AFER I REBOOTED MY PC……………………… IT SHOWS ANDROIS X86_X64….SOMETHING AND A BLACK SCREEN WITH A CURSOR AT TOP RIGT CORNER ON MY SCREEN……. SO PLEASE HELP ME TO INSTALL THE OS…… I THINK IT IS THE FAULT OF MY X64 BIT SYSTEM…….
May I know what’s your system architecture? Only after I can be able to suggest.
Can you give me information of laptops and chromebooks?
I just installed the Phoenix one on USB 3.1 disk. But it it’s really slow and buggy on my Core-i3 system. I guess because of the USB… That’s why I tried to search for more options. And found your great post. Thank you very much!
You forgot the fastest and easiest of all “Linux-Mint”.
hi JACK, THE Linux Mint is featured here, https://quickfever.com/best-free-operating-systems-for-pc/
out of these, ive used
– damn small
ubuntu is better of these, but considering practicality, ill vote for puppy. because, easy to boot from a pen drive and get it out of the way once the work is done. excellent built in packages, quick and easy and large app support. I love pupppy.
for some who want just windows , i think windows xp sp3 work great
we can use a lite version : trust or sweet ,these two modified version xp .
Most of applications who work in windows 7 , 8 and also 10, work in xp , with sometimes need for some ddl to add in system.
most of operating system saying here is not for old machine ?????????????????
ubuntu 16.04 with unity is a heavy system linux like kde , remix os and phonix os use version 5 on android , so it is not for old machines who run on 1Go RAM and average of 1Ghz Cpu( some old machines have less than i said )
but puppy and cube seem there work great on live .
you miss lubuntu 14.04 , and also use of openbox seem great with ubuntu 14.04 , also debian with light WM .
version over 15.10 seem very heavy.
This person didn´´t understand the meaning of this article. I myself use Windows 7 Pro and I´m very happy, but I also have old machines, like an AMD 3000+ 64 and the new Microsoft OS doesn´t run so well. So, I need alternatives, and guess what ? It´s good experimenting new things, it´s very good to be on free software like Linux, which is solid, secure, good. No problem with Mac or Windows or Android, I use all of them. Stupid people tends to become blind and go sectary about OS, but in fact, we should use all of them to increase productivity.
i have a toshiba low specs laptop with 256 ram. and i have lubuntu 32 bit system and i dvdburn it. but whenever i install the OS it always restart.
Try a lightweight linux distro such as Damn small linux or Puppy Linux.
Not a very good selection. Some of these have not been updated for years and are likely no longer supported. A fair share of them actually are fat and slow as a dog compared to the more nimble Windows 10 which Microsoft had put on a much needed weight loss program (and Win10 definitely became better for it!).
I’m looking for something that is more lightweight than Win10, though, which runs like an old dog on my severely under-powered netbook from the ancient XP-era. I tried a number of these OSes that were recommended but a fair few were either slow (lubuntu, xubuntu, manjaro…), or not play nice with my hardware (puppy, reactos, android, kolibrios, tiny core linux…) Might be time to put this old netbook out to pasture, but I still like having it around to test quirky OSes on; right now it’s dual-booting a boring Win10 and Manjaro, and both are slow.
my computer systems are not working WiFi, sound and themes not working it shows DLL lost what do I do any suggestions?
A clean installation is required. Though, before you do that, jump and test any of these operating system on your computer.
Hey good write up. All are pretty killer OS’s. The skewed view of some on the comments are just plain odd. All this is not Competing Legacies, but rather for end user stability and ‘the experience.’ Windows sucks across the board ‘in my opinion.’ I mean it just is ugly, bloated, reminds me of a kids view or built for a rich fat bully in middle school whom tries to throw is fat weight around. Plus it just sucks. Linux is really not much better, and acts like a retarded step child to windows…or at least like a ‘rainman’ type of version. The few OS’s that really blew me away were crunchbang, and busenlabs, but if used on older PC’s browsers freeze or lag horrible. I loved Free Bsd desktop, Solaris, and Scientific linux, and finally Crux.
Android and phones are ruining society and culture, long live PC’s and whatever jacked OS’s still run them/these relics.
I wonder if AJ Jones or Deathstar had any luck throwing windows 10 on an old xp computer like the one I am using right now to type this blog (ubuntu live usbdrive)
I use the linux live discs for any of my shopping or banking online
i will go to Phoenix OS 🙂
well i use windows also to be exact windows 10. but the reason windows 10 is doing so well its because when you do away with the competition your ratings are sure to go up for sure. i read that most hackers use a linux system when hacking is that true?
Regarding your last saying: Yes they do use linux, specifically those Kali linux and Backbox things, because using them one such can perform penetration tests.
Most hackers probably use Linux, but I know a lot of Mac guys, and azns use Windows.
POCs are mostly done on Windows hehe 🙂
Why ? Really ,why should some one use Linux when Windows 10 is doing so great job ? It is just windows phobia and Linux mental war . The greatest DDOS attack on cloud Linux servers last week was clear evidence that Linux is not safe. But it is not the end because an 11 years old killer bug was found in Linux . But here it is 26 October Microsoft fireworks that make Linux to vanish .
Yes windows 10 is great, Even I use it most of the time. This post has some lightweight operating system.
It is just sad to read a comment of a person without basic education on IT Security.
Working for years on CyberSecurity, it is fun to read that a system based on Linux it is not safe because of a DDOS attack! Do you know what a DDOS is?Do you know what a loadbalancer is? You have a looooot to read to avoid writing bs.
nice to help people understand more, but no excuse to attack them about there knowledge or because they says something your are not agreed with! be a teacher without judging people, also no need to ends your comment with bs! for what? 🙂
@AZIZ EL, why attack @QUICKSILVER and not @DEATHSTAR?
DDOS attack shows an OS isn’t safe? What has DDOS got to do with OS security?
I would cite the recent vulnerabilities discovered in the kernel, but the thing is – they are patched quickly.
You are partially correct, a DDOS attack aka DOS or Denial of Service attack merely crashes the system, MAC, Android, iOS, WINDOWS, and Linux are vulnerable.
Any System not folllowing the Stand alone principal can be hacked, Windows is easily attacked using JS, BATCH, PowerShell. Linux HeartBleed Stuxnet…, Mac Anything. Their is no such thing as a ‘INHACKABLE’ OS, but you can pick Linux, the LEAST vulnerable of the bunch, also the easiest to protect (which is why NO ONE makes any ANTI-VIRUS software). the most ideal solution is TO PAY ATTENTION to what you do.
I manage 4 computers running windows 10. It is beautiful and works good…until the anniversary updates came out and crashed out 3 of them! Average time to fix: A little over 2 hours each. Of course the first one took quite a bit longer, the next two a little less. Several reboots each, down time on each. Now I am awaiting another crash next time there is an upgrade.
I manage one computer (an older one) running linux. I recently upgraded distributions, about 30 minutes. It ran well, but was even better when I upgraded the video driver. If it does crash the average repair time is around 2 minutes..the time it takes to reboot to the previous kernel. That is why my personal machine runs Linux!
I have a computer having less ram to run Windows 10. So I prefer os in this list
Yeah… I got windows 10 Anniversary (64 bit) running fast on an old pc that ran XP(32 bit) slow with 2GB ram and a Celeron D 2.8ghz no problems and ran a few basic programs too. Didn’t have to tinker with anything either.
Note this article is called “12 Light and Fast PC Operating System For Old PC, Laptop and Tablet” not “Operating systems to replace Windows.” Some people may want to run an older PC for kids or tinkering. Or perhaps they can’t spare $100 to buy it and are looking for something that’s free. It’s not “Windows phobia,” It’s called “having appropriate alternatives for various situations.” In my case, I’m giving an old Pentium M laptop to some neighbor kids to tinker with, and I don’t have a spare Windows license laying around.
Usually people use pirate windows, so they don’t think about licenses. You are totally right. I landed on this article because i have an old netbook that i want to give to my kid and this helped a lot. By the way, i’m a MacOS user.
Normaly , linux is great because most of people use windows that the primary point, it is not a point of security , why some people use linux , it is just we can do what do you like in open source operating system that the second point.
But whit this , i still say that windows work great on other points , just when you want a hard work in design and making videos and also gaming windows seem clearly best than linux .
Finally , it is not a point of security or mental or phobia , it is all about what you need , and what he work great for you.
I use linux for risky business. My laptop runs on windows 10, but sometimes linux comes really handy, like for recovering files, creating some virus proof exfat partitions and a lot of other purposes. Plus, Linux is awesome. It’s so much fun!
Actually I like tinkering; having experienced the DOS area; I switched to Ubuntu as it has lots of ways to break and mend a system without worrying about license. Nothing is safe and can’t be safe. Sometimes you keep those software around you really like, but hey they don’t get upgraded. The fact that you can install a light weight OS is just fun to do. Not every bell and whistle is worth chasing. I even had the curious experience that even with install DVD’s Windows refused the re-install. At that point I simply switched with a little aha moment because the easy click-able time was left and welcome geeky terminal. So no war on Windows (left that a long time ago), but life has differences and that’s a good thing! It spreads the risk of total lock in or break down. Knowing my way around Linux is spreading the risk.
And you think windows is safe. There are more ACTIVE exploits/viruses/malware/etc in windows right now than there have ever been in Linux(Maybe not all time but you get what I mean.). I use Linux because it is much more secure. I can’t remember the exact figure but 90% of servers run Linux yet they never really get hacked. Besides DDOS is a Distributed Denial Of Service attack. What that means is a group of people got their computers running DOS attacks on a single server. This makes it where the server gets so many requests at one time it cannot keep up therefor denying service to others trying to access that server. So that means it could have easily been a windows server they were attacking and would have the same result. I use both windows and Linux(although Linux is my primary) and the only difference is I don’t have to install antivirus in Linux if I don’t feel the need. In windows however if I connect to the internet without antivirus I get a virus. Most viruses are made windows anyway. That exploit found in Linux gets a lot of bad rap for Linux but windows has many more exploits than that. There is antivirus for Linux and its free and doesn’t bother you to upgrade every time you turn the pc on like the free ones in windows. Plus Linux is FREE and you basically OWN the operating system you download. You can edit it at the most basic level. In windows you pay upwards of 100 dollars and it is LICENSED to you(you don’t own it and can’t edit it legally) which unless you are wanting to edit it is not really a problem.
@DEATHSTAR .. with all of my respect .. you have no idea what you’re talking about. Windows is great, but it applies only to Win XP and Win 7. Windows 10 can be described as a piece of garbage .. hope you don’t mind .. unfinished and still not fully functional MS’s Sacred Cow.
Personally I have had all of them installed on different laptops and PCs, but nothing can beat Peppermint OS, imho, when it comes to look, performance and reliability. It looks great, works great connecting modern cloud computing opportunities with a best desktop experience. But the most important thing – it’s really really fast!
May I point out that this article doesn’t have an aim to start a flaming war between Linux, Mac and Windows users. It has something for everyone. Just narrow-minded people won’t see or don’t want to see its educational pont.
This is only if you have an old PC on a box in your house that you want to use but windows 10 or even XP is really heavy for him 😉