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Old 07-11-2003, 09:42 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Ashland, OR
Distribution: Mandrake 9.1
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Question What's the best Linux Dist. for an old PC???

I've got an Old PII 200Mhz PC with 64MB RAM and a 6GB Hard Disk. I put Windows 98SE on and have also installed Mandrake 9.1 because I had heard that if you're a total Linux Newbie (like me) that it's a good place to start. I've used it a few times but it's soooooo slow on this old PC.

Can anybody tell me if they know of a Linux distrobution that would work the best on this system but still have fairly up to date features?

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Old 07-11-2003, 11:11 AM   #2
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best linux for old box

if it was my box and i wanted it to be quicker, i would put redhat 6.2. don't get high hopes about a lot of GUI. there is a Xserver but not much of one. there are security issues,, as with every release, but 6.2 is pretty solid.
Old 07-11-2003, 11:12 AM   #3
LQ Guru
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Sparta, NC USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04
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Most new distros will need 128 mb ram to install, but there are several small distros that should work OK

# Linux Distribution links:
A Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Linux Distribution
Reasons to Choose or Not Choose Linux
LWN distro list
elinux Linux Distributions

Last edited by fancypiper; 07-11-2003 at 11:15 AM.
Old 07-11-2003, 11:46 AM   #4
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: Slackware
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Slackware 9.0 would run fine on it. I have Slackware 9.0 on a 486 and 32MB RAM (I don't have the GUI stuff installed, though).

Last edited by lyle_s; 07-11-2003 at 12:05 PM.
Old 07-11-2003, 01:07 PM   #5
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Sunny Southport, again.
Distribution: PCLinuxOS 0.93 and 0.92, Vector sometimes
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Vector linux would be an ideal choice on that machine. There is a beta 4.0 version available now. Go to and have a look.
Old 07-11-2003, 02:56 PM   #6
Registered: Jul 2003
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How about Debian Woody? (It works!)
Old 07-11-2003, 03:56 PM   #7
Registered: Jun 2003
Distribution: SuSE, Slackware, Gentoo
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I would use Slackware 9 (like Lyle said) and run 'make menuconfig' to disable some of the more recent features that take advantage of newer technologies. You will also want to run 'chmod' on alot of RC files (/etc/rc.d.) This will help streamline the OS and keep your overhead low. A few months ago I was running RH8 on my Pentium 233 with KDE over X-windows and didn't have any issues.
Old 07-11-2003, 03:57 PM   #8
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Distribution: Gentoo 2004 from stage 1 baby!
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look up Deli linux, I saw it earlier this week and it looks interesting...MADE for older machines
Old 07-15-2003, 06:04 PM   #9
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: miami florida
Distribution: slackware 9.0
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freebsd would run fine on it also
Old 07-15-2003, 08:39 PM   #10
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Location: Calif, USA
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I've got an Old PII 200Mhz PC with 64MB RAM and a 6GB Hard Disk.
Those are not very bad specs. But they are not optimal for running a default install of a current distribution (with KDE or Gnome).
Carlywarly's suggestion of Vector Linux is good. Vector seems to be the best choice for a default install (including Xwindows) to a lower end PC. Yours is a notch better than this. Peanut Linux has slightly higher requirements (can't find the current on a quick check) but is similar in that is offers a small install with current programs using lower resources than the mainstream distributions.
Using something like the ICE desktop rather than KDE or Gnome (with your current Mandrake install) may be all that is needed to give you a good comprimise between speed and availability of programs.
Good Luck.
Old 07-15-2003, 08:54 PM   #11
Registered: Feb 2003
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i have vector running on a 233mhz, 141 ram (that's actual, reconized is only 53), and a 2 gig hd. it's wonderful, if you want a gui on it there won't be a problem unless you use kde, or gnome. you could load a window manager, i.e., fluxbox, blackbox, waimea, icewm,...., instead of a windowing enviroment like kde or gnome. this would help you out with the speed of the graphics and you would still be able to use kde and gnome apps. for a beginner i would recommend ice, you dont' have as many hidden links and menus that the other's have.

Old 07-15-2003, 10:25 PM   #12
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: miami florida
Distribution: slackware 9.0
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or try out the blackbox window manager it doesnt use up that much resources and looks nice enough to use (i use it all the time)
Old 01-14-2007, 11:01 PM   #13
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Registered: Feb 2006
Distribution: CentOS 3.8,Fedora 6
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old PC,updated linux

I have tried many flavors of linux on hand me down PC's,I installed CentOS 3.8 last month completely updated 2.4 kernel.It installed and runs flawlessly. CentOS 2 fully updated is also available for even older PC's. This is an updated copy of the red hat dist...
go here to check it out


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