Latest LQ Deal: Latest LQ Deals
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 11-13-2013, 07:20 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2013
Posts: 3

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Question Linux in 256mb

I am new here and a newbie to Linux.
I have an old laptop which is perfectly serviceable but only has 256mb of memory, is there a Linux that would work with this small amount of memory ?
I tried Ubuntu but it was terribly slow.
Also the machine cannot boot from a memory stick and only has a cd player so would have to be installed from a cd.
Any help much appreciated.
Old 11-13-2013, 08:13 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Feb 2009
Posts: 4,667

Rep: Reputation: 1407Reputation: 1407Reputation: 1407Reputation: 1407Reputation: 1407Reputation: 1407Reputation: 1407Reputation: 1407Reputation: 1407Reputation: 1407
If you are brand-new to Linux, then I recommend you upgrade your hardware, so that you will have a pleasant learning experience.

I find that Linux Mint is super-dooper-easy, perfect for a beginner or experienced user alike! They have several nice desktop options (I prefer Xfce for older hardware). The release notes list the hardware requirements:

You can probably find a computer that meets Mint's requirements for free if you ask family/friends/coworkers.

If you are truly stuck with only 256mb for whatever reason, a lightweight distro like AntiX or Slitaz should give you basic functionality. Just don't run too many apps at once, and stay away from multimedia-rich websites. Adblock/scriptblock/flashblock plugins are your friend when browsing the web on low-end hardware.
Old 11-13-2013, 09:33 AM   #3
Registered: Dec 2009
Location: Germany
Distribution: Whatever fits the task best
Posts: 17,148
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864Reputation: 4864
As snowpine already said, you will get the best experience when upgrading your RAM, but in the meantime you can try antiX, Salix LXDE (or one of the versions that only comes with a WM), Bodhi and actually any of the general purpose distros, if you make a minimal install and only install lightweight versions of the software you need. For example, it will be better to use the Midori browser than the RAM hungry Firefox, and so on.
Old 11-13-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
LQ Veteran
Registered: Jul 2006
Location: London
Distribution: CentOS, Xubuntu
Posts: 5,311

Rep: Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823Reputation: 1823
For a distro which comes on a CD rather than a DVD and runs comfortably in 256MB, you have a choice of Antix, Bodhi, and Zorin Lite.

They differ chiefly in user interface: visit their websites and look at the screen-shots or, better still, try them. I'd say the Zorin Lite is the most user-friendly.

If you CPU is a Pentium Pro, Pentium II or better, any will do. If you have a Pentium I, Zorin won't run. If you have a Pentium M, it depends on the model: Zorin won't run on the version with the 400MHX FSB.
Old 11-13-2013, 05:37 PM   #5
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2013
Posts: 13

Rep: Reputation: 0
To: felinus

You can try Tinycore linux, Crunchbang linux or Puppy Linux

If you could upgrade your memory that would help greatly and get better performance.

If you're not sure of your memory specs, you can run this command from a LiveCD as root

dmidecode --type memory
Below is a sample output for one of my memory sticks

Memory Device
Array Handle: 0x0007
Error Information Handle: Not Provided
Total Width: 64 bits
Data Width: 64 bits
Size: 8192 MB
Form Factor: DIMM
Set: None
Locator: ChannelB-DIMM1
Bank Locator: BANK 3
Type: DDR3
Type Detail: Synchronous
Speed: 1600 MHz
Manufacturer: 859B
Serial Number: 00000000
Asset Tag: 9876543210
Part Number: CT102464BA160B.M16
Rank: 2
Configured Clock Speed: 1600 MHz

The items in Bold are what I believe to be important for the memory.

Or, you can use this site to determine your memory type on the left side titled Two ways to find your upgrades

Welcome to Linux and LQ!

Last edited by NetBot; 11-13-2013 at 05:45 PM.
Old 11-14-2013, 02:47 AM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2013
Posts: 3

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Thanks for all the info, It's nice when people are so generous with their knowledge.
I am looking at all of the versions mentioned and am also going to consider getting a bit more memory.
Many thanks and very best regards to you all.
Old 11-14-2013, 03:07 AM   #7
LQ Guru
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: USA and Italy
Distribution: Debian testing/sid; OpenSuSE; Fedora; Mint
Posts: 5,513

Rep: Reputation: 1004Reputation: 1004Reputation: 1004Reputation: 1004Reputation: 1004Reputation: 1004Reputation: 1004Reputation: 1004
Just a footnote: any distro without the xserver is pretty light weight. Desktop linux with an xserver requires more than 256 MB of ram to run almost at all.
Old 11-14-2013, 06:17 AM   #8
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2013
Posts: 3

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Just downloaded Puppy Linux, got it running from a CD and it seems to be running really fast, faster than Windows xp anyway !
Looks very interesting with a familiar interface etc. Am now off to learn what/how it does.
Thanks for all the advice folks.
Very best regards
Old 11-14-2013, 09:52 AM   #9
Registered: May 2012
Location: Kolkata, India
Distribution: Ubuntu, OpenSUSE
Posts: 91
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
You could give Lubuntu a try...


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
linux os for my p4 1.23 ghz with 256mb ram exgenome Linux - Newbie 11 02-15-2013 02:57 AM
Installation of Linux with Win Xp with 256Mb RAM ank.rattlesnake Linux - Newbie 5 07-26-2011 03:42 PM
LXer: ASUS GeForce 8600GT 256MB On Linux LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 10-30-2007 03:10 AM
Linux crawls on 2.8Ghz,256mb RAM gregorian Linux - Newbie 24 04-28-2006 11:03 AM
running linux off pen drive 256mb linuxmandrake Linux - General 6 09-28-2005 05:10 PM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:57 PM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration