View Full Version : [SOLVED] Which Distro for a semi old laptop (512 MB RAM)

November 18th, 2010, 04:32 PM
Hi guys,

I am wondering which distribution of linux to put on a relatively old laptop of mine (1.7 GHz, 512 MB RAM and 30 GB Harddrive).

I will be getting my wife's old work laptop once she has her brand spanking new one. This one is with Windows XP, but it has serious speed issues.

It used to have an old ubuntu distribution, can't remember which one, pretty sure it was pre-Hardy Heron. Now since the speed issue was so bad (about 10 min to boot XP, 5 min wait until MS Word was loaded) and the thing is showing signs of ...oldness (weak battery, gets very hot over time), I wanted to put a linux distro on it and hope that improves things. Preferably from the Ubuntu family because that is the one I have used before.

Which distribution would you suggest? Are there uptodate contemporary ones that are ok, or should I stick with an older distribution of ubuntu?

I would most likely use it for writing with open office and the beginner's version of programming and most likely surfing the net. I am mostly wondering about the speed issue, because the windows experience on that laptop left me nearly catatonic in shock and disgust.

Also one thing that may be important is that I am only an amateur enthusiast in terms of linux and computers rather than a very knowledgeable person. so a distribution that needs a lot of tweaking is most likely not good for me.

Thank you very much for your help, guys,


November 18th, 2010, 04:43 PM
xubuntu of course!

November 18th, 2010, 04:56 PM
Go with a recent release (10.04 or 10.10) rather than an older, outdated release is my advice. While you can probably run plain old Ubuntu just fine, the fastest Ubuntu install will be a "minimal install" using a lightweight windows manager (icewm, jwm, fluxbox, etc.) as described in this tutorial:


If you want something really speedy on older hardware, look outside the Ubuntu family to something like Puppy Linux or SliTaz.

November 18th, 2010, 05:08 PM
high guys, thanks for your input.

sorry to reiterate this point, but will this hinder me in doing the things I described above in anyway? I am mostly looking at using internet. The rest I don't think will be too bad on the machine.

I think I am still a little away from a bare bones install, although if performance is low, I will consider it.

Why is xubuntu's wrapper so much easier on the hardware? is it more limited than Gnome or just better designed and newer (thus not carrying as much old baggage along).
Also, I was not able to gauge from a quick look how good the documentation is in comparison to, say, the standard ubuntu, which is a very important thing for me.

Thanks again guys,


November 18th, 2010, 05:20 PM
Xubuntu is simply Ubuntu with the Xfce desktop environmnent instead of Gnome. They share the same "core" system and are capable of running all the same applications.

November 18th, 2010, 05:27 PM
Xubuntu is slow. There's also Lubuntu (http://lubuntu.net/blog/lubuntu-1004-now-available-download)

November 18th, 2010, 05:29 PM
I am running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on an old laptop. 512 memory with no problems..

Dell d600

November 18th, 2010, 05:36 PM
I am running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on an old laptop. 512 memory with no problems..

Dell d600

Ditto Dell Inspiron 1000.

Works great

Good Luck

November 18th, 2010, 05:59 PM
Thanks for all your replies, guys. That was very helpful :D