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You will need to tell us some specs on the laptop but, there are many choices. Take a look at http://distrowatch.com .....One common bit of advice is to try anything in the top 10 on their "hit list", but not all of those will be good for older hardware----look at the minimum system requirements.
Originally Posted by sibho.d
Without knowing the specs, what is your basis for this recommendation?
This question is asked all the time here on LQ so I'm sure a result from a search would benefit.
You have not provided enough information to make a recommendation. What are the specs for the laptop and age?
My recommendations, dealing as a non-profit promoting Linux and using contributed, older PCs:
1) PIII with 512 MB RAM -- antiX 8.5 (Debian)
2) P4 with more RAM -- Salix 13.1 32-bit (Slackware) or Mint9-lxde (Debian/Ubuntu-derivative); as someone said, PCLXDE (Mandriva-derived) is good, too, it's a matter of choice and preference.
I don't deal with netbooks or PCs older than about year 2000, so if yours is older than a PIII, I can't help you.