Best 10 Linux alternatives to Windows for old desktops and laptops

List of best Linux operating systems as Windows alternatives that are meant to work on your old computer or to replace your Windows 10 for best performance.

Windows seems to be the most user-friendly operating system ever. But everything great comes with a price tag. You can get started with a newly built system by installing Windows 10 onto it, but your old computer might not be powerful enough to handle a heavy operating system like Windows 10. You have old versions of Windows for weaker systems, but the problem with Windows is that Microsoft ends its support for the older versions of Windows, after almost 10 years after releasing it. So, with an old version of Windows, you are making your old pal vulnerable to new threats.

Whatever may be the reason, you are using your old system, you need optimum security for your computer. So if you are concerned about security, and want to run your old computer by giving it a new life, you can go for a Linux distro, which is lightweight and is built with the sole purpose of running on old computers. There are many Linux distributions you can find, meant for the specific purpose of giving a new life to the old computer in the corner of our living room. So I am here with the top 10 Linux alternatives for old systems. Yes, old Linux distributions too need to be updated, but they will always be lightweight so that you never need to throw away your old computer for being painfully slow with Microsoft Windows.

So let’s have a look at the list of distributions you can use.

10 Best Linux alternatives for Windows Users

Zorin OS Lite– Linux alternative to Windows

Best Linux alternative to Windows 11/10/7 operating system. These include, in particular, those who attach great importance to openness, security, and privacy. For a Windows system as a Linux alternative, the problem which many people face is the user interface. Desktop environments like GNOME confuse a Windows desktop user from the beginning. However, that is not with Zorin OS, it offers the same type of interfaces as Windows along with Gnome and MacOS.

Zorin OS Lite and Education Lite System Requirements

  • CPU 700 MHz Single Core – 64-bit or 32-bit
  • RAM 512 MB
  • Storage 8 GB
  • Display 640 × 480 resolution

Bodhi Linux

If you are looking for a new way to give life to your age-old mate, Bodhi Linux which comes with minimum pre-installed packages can be the best one for you. Released in 2011, Bodhi Linux can even run on systems with as low as 500 MHz processors. So it can power almost all the old computers you can think of, in 2019. Bodhi Linux features an Enlightenment desktop, which is a way smoother window manager than its counterparts.

Though lightweight, Bodhi Linux comes with some handy programs that you start using right after installing the distro. It has the Midori browser for web browsing, which is decent enough. You can expand its possibilities by installing new specific programs as per your requirements. Apart from the official repository, you can even download packages from the App Center for the operating system. Last but not least, Bodhi Linux even supports Ubuntu PPAs, which is very useful, as well.

Manjaro Linux

The next one in our Linux alternative to Windows list is Manjaro Linux, which is a derivative of Arch Linux and is well-known for being highly customizable to suit the requirement of different categories of users. The Xfce edition of Manjaro Linux is one of the best and it is quite light-weight. Manjaro Linux is built to run on a wide set of hardware, and the hardware detection manager plays an important role in that. Manjaro Linux can be installed effortlessly with exactly the packages that you need so that you do not end up with a system with unnecessary packages.

Manjaro Linux features a very user-friendly interface, and you will hardly face issues, getting started with it, if you are new to the Linux environment. Manjaro Linux only has 64-bit editions now, which isn’t big trouble, as most processors, even from the last decade have support for 64-bit operating systems. Manjaro Linux is also a great community, and you can get immediate support from the team of enthusiastic developers, which can be a cherry on the pie for most newbies.


If you are more into Windows but have recently switched to Linux and you are using an old desktop or laptop, Lubuntu, an official flavor of Ubuntu can get the job done for you. Lubuntu is one of the most lightweight Linux distributions with support for the official Linux repositories. The not-so-resource-hungry Lubuntu is based on the LXQt desktop environment, and you can run this operating system easily, even on a computer running on as low as 256 MB of RAM. Lubuntu is stable, and you can feel at home due to its Windows-like navigation features on it.

Lubuntu might not be the most beautiful Linux distribution, but it can give a new life to an old PC. Lubuntu even comes with several pre-installed programs to carry out different day-to-day activities, like a CD and DVD burner, document reader, photo viewer, etc. You can download your preferred programs from the official Ubuntu repositories. On Lubuntu, you can even download programs from the Snap repository, but you just need to configure it first before using the same.

Linux Lite

The name says it all. Linux Lite is the perfect distro, which comes with all the necessary programs pre-installed so that you don’t need to go through different websites and search across repositories to download programs. It comes with a huge set of pre-installed programs like LibreOffice Suite, VLC Media Player, GIMP, Thunderbird, and Mozilla Firefox, which sums up the requirement for most users out there. Linux Lite is made keeping the newbies in mind, and the best part is, it has a start button like Menu to search for things and a lot of other things similar to that of Windows.

Linux Lite is powerful, beautiful, and feature-rich, not to mention lightweight, making it your best weapon for the old-school computer in your living room. Linux Lite though requires slightly more RAM, i.e. 512 MB, which shouldn’t be a deal-breaker unless you are using a computer from the first half of the last decade. Linux Lite runs effortlessly on 700 MHz processors, and thus, if you are not using a not-so-old computer, you can enjoy using Linux Lite. Just like other Linux distributions, you can even download additional programs from the software store and the official repositories.

Puppy Linux alternative for Windows

No, you won’t get this distro-free next time you adopt a puppy or vice versa, but Puppy Linux is as versatile and lightweight as the size of a small Chihuahua puppy. No, I am not exaggerating. Puppy Linux comes within a very small package of almost 200 MB, which is negligible in today’s world of Gigabytes and Terabytes. Unlike most other distros, it isn’t built on or is a derivative of different distributions. The additional packages can be installed depending on the binaries that you choose for installation.

As the Puppy Linux distro comes in such a very small package, it doesn’t come with any popular apps. So it is all up to you, which apps you exactly want to use on your Puppy Linux. Thus, you can almost start setting Puppy Linux up from scratch. Puppy Linux requires only 64 MB of RAM, and the processor should have a clock speed of 333 MHz, which isn’t a hindrance, as well. Puppy Linux loads itself into the RAM completely so that you get a smooth performance and enjoy using Puppy Linux.

Peppermint OS

The next up on my list of the best Linux alternatives to Windows for old computers is Peppermint OS. Shipped with an LXDE desktop environment, it is the perfect blend of cloud-based infrastructure and the regular desktop, a Linux operating system has to offer. The lightweight Peppermint OS has both 32-bit and 64-bit editions, for different hardware, and is based on Lubuntu, you can even install packages and programs from the repositories supported by Ubuntu. The default desktop interface resembles Mac OS, making it a great choice among users, switching to Linux from Mac OS.

Due to the cloud-based infrastructure, Peppermint OS is very lightweight, and it also comes pre-installed with Ice applications, which are capable of doing several useful tasks right out of the box. Peppermint OS comes with a different set of applications pre-installed, which can allow you to taste something new if you are used to the regular Linux applications that come with most distros.

Ubuntu Mate

As the name suggests, Ubuntu Mate is one of the best lightweight Linux distributions that are highly configurable, and you can install every single app that you can install on a regular Ubuntu distribution. With the latest GTK3+, Ubuntu Mate comes with a lot of layout options to help you choose the most appropriate flavor for yourself. Pantheon, Netbook, and Mutiny are a few of them. Even with such heavy layout options and desktop environments, Ubuntu Mate is quite lightweight and it can be used to power old machines even with the 32-bit architecture.

If you are switching from Windows, Ubuntu Mate can be the best mate for your leap into the Linux community. Even though Ubuntu Mate can run effortlessly on low-end systems, you can even use it on newer systems with decent hardware, and that sounds great. Ubuntu Mate might not be as lightweight as the other distros I mentioned above, but you can still use it on your old system with minimum hassles.

Linux Mint

Next, the Linux alternative to windows on my list is Linux Mint, which offers the perfect blend of Ubuntu and Debian, and just like most other great lightweight distros, Linux Mint is also meant for users switching from the Windows operating system. Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint comes with a set of pre-installed apps and utilities. It has the codecs to watch Flash videos, which can be useful for a big class of users out there. Linux Mint comes in different flavors, Cinnamon being the most standard one, however, you can even use the Xfce edition, which is designed with a set of useful apps and codecs, most users will find useful.

The Linux Mint operating system is very user-friendly, and to make the installation process easier, you will not find the option to install 3rd-party programs during installation, but you can install them later, once the basic installation of the operating system is complete. Pre-installed with the APT package manager, you can easily download your necessary programs and install them easily taking care of the dependencies like a pro. With a minimum requirement of 1 GB of RAM, which is even available in dirt cheap computers, and most old computers, Linux Mint is ready to be installed on almost all the systems you can think of.


The penultimate one is SparkyLinux, which is a lightweight operating system that comes with several choices, and it is equally efficient for old as well as new systems. Depending upon, where you want to install the operating system, you can choose the one that comes with pre-installed packages, or the one that comes with limited programs to make your system run fast. If you are into gaming, the SparkyLinux GameOver edition is also available, which you can use for gaming on Linux.

SparkyLinux Linux alternative to Windows is based on Debian, and you can choose your preferred one from several desktop environments including LXDE, LXQt, OpenBox, MATE, e17, etc. SparkyLinux is very easy to install, and thus, you can get started with your new computer without spending a hard time struggling with the setup process. Sparky Linux is very lightweight, however, the minimum system requirements vary depending on the desktop environment that you choose. The CLI edition requires just 128 MB, and it is 256 MB for the LXDE desktop environment, which is available on most computers today.


The last one on my list is CrunchBang++, aka. CBPP, and it is by far the most lightweight distribution in this list. Based on Debian 9, CrunchBang++ is well-known for its lightweight and simple-to-use nature. CrunchBang++ is based on the Openbox windows manager, which is the lightweight desktop environment available for Linux. The following CrunchBang++ Linux distribution is the clone of the dead Linux distribution, which was equally lightweight and simple. CrunchBang++ requires 1 GB of RAM to run, which isn’t a big deal at all, even in the older system, unless it is an ancient one.

CrunchBang++ even comes with a set of pre-installed applications, which can be good enough to start using your computer right after installation. A few of the most popular pre-installed programs with CrunchBang++ include the popular Thunar File Manager, GIMP, VLC Media Player, etc. CrunchBang++ might not be that friendly for beginners, but you can at least try it, who can see, it will turn out to be the best distro for your specific requirements.

If you are switching to Linux from a different platform like Windows or Mac OS, it might need some time for you to get started with the new operating. However, most operating systems I have mentioned here, come with all the necessary pre-installed applications so that you do not need to go through the installation of additional programs or so. The best part is, Linux is open-source, and you can easily turn things your way, once you get accustomed to the new platform.

So that was the list of the top 10 Linux distributions you can use instead of Windows, on your old computer. Do you have anything to say? Feel free to comment the same down below.

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