Do you have any old laptop that is running slow? Are you searching for a lightweight operating system for your netbook? Here is a free list of lightweight operating system that can operate without using much of your hardware resources.
All these operating system mentioned here are capable to run under 1GB RAM and low CPU speed. Most of these Operating System can be loaded to USB stick and run from it instead of installing in your hard disk.
We recommend to download and setup and bootable USB with the operating system you choose to test with your hardware.
That will help you to make sure all the hardware drivers are available for the operating system before you try this OS on your local hard disk.
Minimum Requirement: i486 or newer CPU, Intel / AMD processors with 256 MB RAM
Slax is a Live operating system based on Linux runs from an external media without any need for permanent installation. Entire Slax operating system resides in a single directory
/slax/ on your device, making it easier to organize with your other data.
Slax is available for 32bit and 64bit processor architectures. The 32bit version is designed to run on very old computers (as old as Intel 486; that dates back to 1989). It will run properly on brand new computers too, but it is limited in the amount of RAM it can see and limited to 3GB of RAM maximum. The 64bit version has no such limits, but will not run on computers older than a few years. If you plan to use Slax on very old computer, or you seek for a system with maximum possible compatibility, then choose 32bit. If your intention is to use Slax on brand new machine, you’ll better go for 64bit.
Minimum Requirement: i486 or newer CPU, Intel / AMD processors with 64 MB RAM
Damn Small Linux is a very versatile 50MB mini desktop oriented Linux distribution. DSL has a nearly complete desktop, and a tiny core of command line tools. All applications have been chosen for the best balance of functionality, size and speed. Damn Small also has the ability to act as an SSH/FTP/HTTPD server right off of a live CD.
DSL can boot from a business card CD as a live linux distribution or from a USB pen drive. It can run fully in RAM with as little as 128MB and light enough to power a 486DX with 16MB of Ram.
Minimum Requirement: Pentium II or newer CPU with 128 MB RAM
NimbleX is a small but versatile operating system which is able to boot from CD, flash memory (USB pens or Mp3 players) and even from the network. Because it runs entirely from a CD, USB or network it doesn’t require installation.
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++, connect remotely to other computers and many more.
Arch supports the i686 and x86_64 architectures with with 256 MB RAM
Arch Linux is an independently developed, i686/x86-64 general purpose GNU/Linux distribution versatile enough to suit any role. Development focuses on simplicity, minimalism, and code elegance. Arch is installed as a minimal base system, configured by the user upon which their own ideal environment is assembled by installing only what is required or desired for their unique purposes.
GUI configuration utilities are not officially provided, and most system configuration is performed from the shell and a text editor. Based on a rolling-release model, Arch strives to stay bleeding edge, and typically offers the latest stable versions of most software.
Zorin OS Lite need minimum 266 MHz x86 processor, 5GB of Hard Drive space, 256 MB of system memory (RAM) and Graphics card capable of 640×480 resolution.
Zorin OS is a multi-functionaloperating system designed specifically for newcomers to Linux. It’s based on Ubuntu Linux, so you can rely on it for rock-solid performance, dependability and support. Zorin OS features our uniqueLook Changer program that we have created exclusively for Zorin OS.
It allows users to change the user interface at the touch of a button. Other unique programs include Background Plus, Web Browser Manager and more. It allows you to use Zorin OS alongside your current operating system and run Microsoft Windows programs in Zorin OS with the help of WINE and PlayOnLinux.
Bonus List of Light Weight OS
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 LiveCD, from a USB key, an SD/MMC card or install on its regular HDD.
GeeXboX provides you a ready-to-be-used, plug-and-play Media Center application that can play any kind of multimedia content. It has been designed to be fully controllable through either keyboard, mouse or a remote controller and do not require any particular computer-related skills. It features the state of the art technologies as to provide you with the best multimedia experience to take the most out of your hardware
Ubuntu Netbook Edition is great, but a lot of things don’t work out of the box. MP3s, for example, can’t be played until you install the codecs. EasyPeasy aims to be simple by offering proprietary applications and codecs out of the box.
EasyPeasy is designed for the cloud. It is configured with Wifi and wireless drivers that enable you to easily connect your netbook to the Internet and enjoy web applications straight from the desktop. EasyPeasy is optimized for low power consumption and was from the early start developed with good battery performance and mobility in mind.
It is a Linux-based operating system became the best replacement OS for old PC sitting in homes, schools and universities. Designed around the Jolidrive HTML5 interface which designed for the cloud but works great offline.
Jolicloud automatically updates your software, relies heavily on Chromium-based packages for running web-based applications with a curated list of 1,500 free app.
Elementary OS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It makes use of a desktop with its own shell named Pantheon and is deeply integrated with other elementary OS applications like Plank (a dock), Midori (the default web browser) and Scratch (a simple text editor).
The distribution initially started as a set of themes and applications designed for Ubuntu which later turned into its own Linux distribution. Being Ubuntu-based, it is compatible with its repositories and packages and uses Ubuntu’s own software center to handle installation/removal of software.
If you want to get the list of more free operating system that you want to try for your laptop, please try Top 7 Free Operating Systems For Your Laptop / Netbook.