What is an Operating System?
Operating systems are also software but they act as an interface between computer hardware components and the users. Take an easy example to understand this.
Let’s assume that you are a boss of a company and there are many workers who are working under you. And the workers are doing different tasks. So that workers are different applications in our case and the bose who is controlling all the tasks from behind like if the worker is doing his job perfectly or not, etc. is operating system in our case. But is there only your company in this world? of course not… There are many different companies with their different names and different works and in our case, those different companies are different operating systems.
Every computer needs an operating system in it. So that it can run other programs. Like, Browsers, Video players, games, etc.
For ethical hacking read this article on Best Linux distributions for Hacking in 2021
What are Lightweight Operating Systems?
Nowadays many of you are using Windows 8.1/10 or macOS which are very heavyweight Operating Systems. And these types of Operating systems not run well in low-end PC or old PC. You feel lag in your PC while using these types of Operating systems. That’s why we will discuss lightweight Operating Systems.
Lightweight Operating systems can run on very low-end PCs. These types of Operating Systems need around 1 GB of RAM(most of the time, less than 1 GB). So the low-end PC which has 1 or 2 GB of RAM and don’t have any good graphic cards can run these types of Operating systems easily, without any lag.
List of best lightweight Operating Systems
- Tiny Core
- Linux Lite
- Puppy Linux
- Linux Mint
- Phoenix OS
- Manjaro XFCE Edition
- Damn Small Linux
- Zorin OS lite
- Bodhi Linux
1. Tiny Core
Applications like Adobe Photoshop, Chrome Browser, Microsoft Paint are larger than Tiny Core Linux in size. Tiny Core is an Operating System but its size is merely equal to 16MB. The most Lightweight Operating System on our list is the tiny core. We can say that a low-quality YouTube video is larger than this OS. To make this Linux very lightweight there are not that many pre-installed apps like windows and macOS.
It can run on any of your PC which you are using for decades. Hardware graphics and many more things are missing here but you can install it manually. There are three different variants of this OS: Core, Tiny Core, and CorePlus. Core comes with no GUI(graphical user interface). It’s just a command line. CorePlus provides options and installation tools.
RAM: 64 MB (128 recommended)
Space: 11 – 106 MB
One of the best Lightweight Linux on our List is Lubuntu. Lubuntu Linux is fast, a Lightweight Operating System, and based on Ubuntu. It utilizes either LXDE/LXQT desktop environment isn’t it awesome? Also, it is an official flavor of Ubuntu. It’s also the most popular user-friendly Linux distribution.
You can use it on either your latest PC or any old low-end PC. It comes with three different installation packages. Desktop package requires more than 700MB of RAM and you can choose between 64-bit or 32-bit. This Desktop package is for regular users. For minimal installation, you require only 64MB of RAM. However, 128MB is recommended RAM.
RAM: 512 MB (128 minimal installation)
CPU: Pentium 4 or Pentium M or AMD K8 or higher
Space: 2 GB
3. Linux Lite
As from the name Linux lite is a very Lightweight Linux Distribution. You do not need any Heavyweight hardware to run this Linux. It took very low resources to run so the rest of the resources you can use for gaming or any other works. It runs fast with less resource and takes very little CPU Power so it frees up other space for gaming. For gamers, this Linux is the best.
It comes with plug and play and ready to run. Linux Lite is based on the Ubuntu LTS release which means a long-term support release. Linux lite comes with many pre-installed apps for professional works.
RAM: 768MB (1GB recommended)
CPU: 1GHz processor (1.5Ghz recommended)
Space: 8 GB
Those who want a Lightweight Operating System that can run with minimum resources and plug and play, they can try this Xubuntu Linux. Xubuntu is based on Ubuntu. It comes with pre-built packages to run everything that you want on your low-end PC. You have a web browser, email client, office application, and media to manage photos and videos.
RAM: 512MB (1GB recommended)
CPU: Pentium Pro or AMD Athlon
Space: 7.5 GB
5. Puppy Linux
Another Linux Distribution in our list which you can use in your low-end or old PC. There is an interesting thing about this Linux and its that it is a portable Linux. You can carry it in your 2GB or more USB drive or DVD. This lightweight OS can boot from a USB drive or CD. You can say This OS a first aid for your PC or laptop. When your PC gets corrupted, and there is no way to boot it in your main OS, then you can boot your PC from Puppy Linux and access your hard drive. And then you can retrieve your important data from your hard drive.
RAM: 300 MB(1GB recommended)
CPU: Pentium 900 MHz
DVD-ROM: 20x and up or USB
6. Linux Mint
There is one more Lightweight Operating System from the Linux family, Linux Mint. If you have a decent hardware configuration then you can run Linux Mint easily. It’s an Ubuntu-based Linux Distribution. It also has the Xfce desktop which makes it good enough for some old computers.
RAM: 1 GB(2GB recommended)
CPU: x86 processor (Linux Mint 64-bit requires a 64-bit processor. Linux Mint 32-bit works on both 32-bit and 64-bit processors)
Space: 15 GB (20 GB recommended)
7. Phoenix OS
Phoenix OS is an Android build OS for Desktop users. You can get an android experience on your desktop, use Android applications on your desktop. Games like PUBG mobile, CODM, and many more android games you can play on your desktop. You can drag and drop your files, you can compress files, and you have a chromium-based web browser to connect you with the internet.
CPU: Intel x86
Space: 2 GB(16 GB recommended)
8. Manjaro XFCE Edition
Manjaro is a famous Linux distro and it comes in numerous forms relying upon your utilization case and your decision of work area. From full-included KDE, Plasma, and GNOME to lightweight MATE and XFCE work area, Manjaro is accessible in 15 distinct forms. The one we’re discussing is the XFCE Edition which utilizes the lightweight XFCE work area.
It is not the lightest OS but you can use it in your low-end PC very smoothly. It’s lighter than your old OS like Windows or macOS. And it comes with XFCE pre-installed apps so that you can use it easily.
RAM: 1 GB
CPU: 1 GHz processor
Space: 30 GB
9. Damn Small Linux
Damn Small Linux is an extremely adaptable 50MB smaller than normal work area arranged Lightweight Linux distros. DSL has an almost complete work area and a little center of command line apparatuses. All applications have been decided for the best equilibrium of usefulness, size, and speed. You can boot it from a CD as a live Linux distribution or a USB pen drive. It’s really a very Lightweight Operating System.
RAM: 64 MB(256 MB recommended)
CPU: Pentium 200MHz (i486 recommended)
Here we have another Ubuntu-based Linux Distribution in our list. Peppermint is a cloud-focused Linux distribution and uses the Lightweight X Desktop Environment (LXDE) desktop environment to give you a smoother experience. It does not require heavyweight hardware. Peppermints have an implicit web application the board apparatus considered Ice that allows you to try to get a similar encounter while you manage the web application. In a real sense, you feel the web application and menus are much the same as your local application menus.
RAM: 1 GB(2 GB recommended)
CPU: Processor based on Intel x86 architecture
Space: 4GB or more
Slax is a very lightweight Operating system as well as it is portable so that you can use it on a USB drive without installing it on your Desktop. Slax is Debian based Linux distribution. If you want to use Slax on your very old computer or you tired of using the OS with maximum compatibility, then choose its 32bit version. And for new computers, you can use 64bit.
RAM: 128 MB of RAM for desktop 512 MB of RAM to run Web browser
CPU: i686 or newer CPU, all Intel processors and AMD processors will work
12. Zorin OS lite
Zorin is specially made for newcomers to Linux. Zorin is a multifunctional Operating system and it is also based on Ubuntu. Zorin allows you to change the user interface with just one touch of a button. It permits you to utilize Zorin OS alongside your present working framework and run Microsoft Windows programs in Zorin OS with the assistance of WINE and PlayOnLinux.
RAM: 512 MB
CPU: 700 MHz Single Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit or 32-bit processor
Space: 8 GB
13. Bodhi Linux
We have another lightweight Linux distribution here. Bodhi Linux gives a new life to your older PC or laptop. It’s known for its minimum system requirements and support for low-end hardware. As it is very lightweight it doesn’t come with a lot of pre-installed apps. But you can install all of them manually on your PC.
RAM: 512 MB (768MB recommended)
CPU: 500MHz (Non-PAE) processor (1 GHz for 64 bit)
Space: 5 GB (10 GB recommended)
The lightweight Operating systems we discussed in this article don’t require any heavyweight hardware or graphic cards. You can use all of these on your old PC or laptop without any lag. Some of the Operating systems’ size is less than a low-quality youtube video. Most of the operating systems don’t even require more than 1 GB of RAM. Download and use any of these which perfectly satisfy your PC or laptop’s minimum requirements.
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