Best Distro For Old Computers

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Best Distro For Old Computers

Postby TheLegit » 2019-08-06 02:12

Hello, I am currently a Windows user but I wanted to try out Linux. I have tried out some of the Linux OSes using Virtualbox on my newer computer. One of the problems that I am facing is that I have this old computer that currently has Windows 7 at the moment. The computer was good for awhile but then the performance started hindering. It has gotten so slow and crippled it cannot even open Google Chrome. Now it will not even boot into Windows 7 anymore. This lead me to start doing some research on the Internet about possible solutions to revive that old thing. Now of course obviously I knew that I had to upgrade the hardware on it. This laptop is a Dell Latitude D630 with the following specs:
2GB of RAM (DDR2)
Intel Core 2 Duo (2GHZ Dual Core Single Thread)
80GB Hard Drive
Possibly 64 Bit? I did some research and seems like it is at least 64 bit Capable
The upgrades are that I would like to upgrade to at least an SSD and 4 GB of RAM, and possibly the processor to a quad core but I don't know if I can do that. Now I have read the Dell Forums and according to that I would be able to upgrade it to 8 GB of RAM if the BIOS was upgraded. I also wanted to Dual Boot Windows 10 and Linux for compartmentalization and compatibility purposes. My question for that is, if the BIOS can be upgraded how do you do that?
So my question is, alongside Windows 10, what would be the best recommended Linux OS for this use case scenario? The reason why I am asking this is because I am kind of still new to Linux even though I have played around with it a little bit on VirtualBox already. There are a lot of choices of distros and it can be overwhelming for someone like me. I am looking for something stable but still with relatively new software so I have been looking around the Debian and Ubuntu LTS based Distributions. I am not really sure what the differences are between the two and I have been really struggling which one to go with. I have been leaning towards MX Linux and Linux Mint but also I have been looking at some Linux OSes like Peppermint, Ubuntu LTS, Trisquel (FSF Approved Ubuntu-Based Distro), Debian Buster, and Pop_! OS. Do you have any suggestions? Would something like MX Linux and/or Linux Mint run just fine on it and be good for a new user like me?
I apologize for the long post.
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Re: Best Distro For Old Computers

Postby vbrummond » 2019-08-06 02:47

Debian is good for old computers.

1) use 32 bit, it uses less memory.
2) simple file systems like ext4
3) look into compressed memory
4) use a light work space or window manager like Xfce/lxde
5) don’t install services you don’t need
6) 2gb of ram will be horrible on the modern web. You might have to make some tradeoffs
7) have minimal expectations :)
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Re: Best Distro For Old Computers

Postby Soul Singin' » 2019-08-06 03:05

vbrummond wrote:6) 2gb of ram will be horrible on the modern web. You might have to make some tradeoffs

Turn off JavaScript and the modern web is great! . :lol: . :cry:

Try the Javascript Toggle On and Off add-on for Firefox. I often use it on my machine with 8 GB of RAM. It makes the modern web run a lot faster. . :mrgreen:
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Re: Best Distro For Old Computers

Postby peer » 2019-08-06 06:48

lots of possibilities:
- MX is a very good option to try first.
- Antix is also a good option. Try this if MX does not work properly/
- Debian LXDE, Debian XFCE or Debian Mate are also good for older pc's/laptops.
- and there are others of course.
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Re: Best Distro For Old Computers

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2019-08-06 07:55

vbrummond wrote:use 32 bit, it uses less memory

I would disagree with this because the memory saving is minimal once the browser is running and 32-bit operating systems run slower than 64-bit and cannot take advantage of the NX bit, making them less secure.

Soul Singin' wrote:Turn off JavaScript and the modern web is great!

Code: Select all
# apt install webext-noscript

@OP: Debian buster running a lighter desktop such as XFCE is great for older computers but MX Linux might be a bit easier to manage if you're new to GNU/Linux. And if you do use XFCE then either switch from LightDM to GDM for the login screen or use a console login with automatic startx instead to run X under the normal user:

Free (as in speech) distributions like Trisquel are great but they won't support your wireless card and if proprietary software is a problem for you then use vrms to cleanse your system.
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Re: Best Distro For Old Computers

Postby Dai_trying » 2019-08-06 09:08

My go to distro for low powered machines is Q4OS it is debian based with the Trinity Desktop, it can run on almost anything, I have it on laptops, desktops and a couple of Pi's (Pi 1 clone and a model 3B), and it is available for pine64 and arm devices. The devs are very active and updates/fixes are frequent, it also has a Plasma version and user can install most other desktops via it's desktop profiler.
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Re: Best Distro For Old Computers

Postby Bulkley » 2019-08-07 01:05

With identical posts over here and here some of us might wonder what you are up to.
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Re: Best Distro For Old Computers

Postby NFT5 » 2019-08-07 04:43

+1 for MX.

Mint will run fine, but slower, as will Ubuntu. Mint forums for support are very good.
Debian will run the fastest but is much more difficult to set up and maintain.

MX will run almost as well as Debian and is newbie friendly, as are their forums.
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