Linux for old computers

This page is a review of what you can install on old hardware.

Useful tip: now that you are here, do not go anywhere else other than links on this page! I have tried to find ALL distributions out there for old hardware. So you probably will not find any more. And it really is easy to get confused with too much information.

So what did I try to install?

Name: Runs Live? Installed? Installation issues? Runs after installation?
AntiX Froze, interlaced display Live: weird interlaced display, froze. Could not start install. (Try to reinstall)  
Arch Linux It said it was live, but only asks for installation Yes, to command prompt. Have to follow lengthy GUI installation instructions in
Damn Small   Burned  
Deli linux   Installing  
Maryan Linux   Downloading  
Puppy Yes Yes. But sometimes no indication that install was in progress. Yes
Slax   Sat for 30 minutes constantly accessing the CD  
Slitaz   No  
Vector Light   Yes Black screen. Video card incompatibility.
Zen Walk   Yes. But installation graphics screen should be made smaller (did not fit on my laptop, bottom was cut off) Black screen. Video card incompatibility.



1) Try several of the entries in the table.

2) Your installation is not over until you can connect to the internet. Wireless on a laptop might require some research elsewhere.

3) If things are not working at all, and documentation does not help, verify that the file was downloaded properly and it was burned to the CD without errors. If several distros fail on your hardware you might also have to change some installation settings.


Links to other useful articles about installing Linux on old hardware:
Lenny lights up an old laptop

List of ALL mini distributions

GNU/Linux on old hardware

Reincarnating a discarded laptop with Linux

Seven Linux distros fight over one old ThinkPad

Turn Your Old Laptop into a Powerful Linux Workhorse

Low-end Laptop Distro thinking again...


Things that were not included:

  • Stx Linux: could not find website
  • Elive: donationware, not tested
  • Fluxbuntu: not active
  • Pocket Linux: single floppy!
  • Tiny Linux: for floppies!
  • Feather Linux is a live distro only. It did run live, but it cannot be installed. It is also dead.
  • TinyMe Linux: could not find download
  • Arklinux probably not for old hardware
  • BeatrIX dead
  • Syllable not Linux based, but people can try
  • It appears that many distros running on Enlightenment may be for old hardware (like OpenGEU, Elive, OzOS, etc)
  • gOS


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