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Please suggest the best free Linux for an old Pentium 4

I have salvaged an old P-4 (2.6 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 80GB HDD). I'd like to install Linux in it and use it for torrent downloading and web surfing. What is the best looking Linux that would be run by this machine? It would be the best if you could provide a download link to the Distro. :)

PS: I've never used any computer OS other than windows, and so, please suggest a user friendly Linux.

Thank you so much. :)
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about suggest free linux pentium
  1. Thank you, Spankmon and Cookya. :) I'm gonna try out Ubuntu.
  2. Best answer
    The Tiger said:
    Thank you, Spankmon and Cookya. :) I'm gonna try out Ubuntu.


    If you find Ubuntu too slow you may want to ty Lubuntu which is Ubuntu but with lightweight desktop and aps in the installation. You can always add the goodies later if your machine can handle them, including the ubuntu desktop and there's no reason I know of not installing the latest version, 13.04.
  3. stillblue said:
    The Tiger said:
    Thank you, Spankmon and Cookya. :) I'm gonna try out Ubuntu.


    If you find Ubuntu too slow you may want to ty Lubuntu which is Ubuntu but with lightweight desktop and aps in the installation. You can always add the goodies later if your machine can handle them, including the ubuntu desktop and there's no reason I know of not installing the latest version, 13.04.



    Thank you so much for the suggestion.
  4. The Tiger said:
    I have salvaged an old P-4 (2.6 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 80GB HDD). I'd like to install Linux in it and use it for torrent downloading and web surfing. What is the best looking Linux that would be run by this machine? It would be the best if you could provide a download link to the Distro. :)

    PS: I've never used any computer OS other than windows, and so, please suggest a user friendly Linux.

    Thank you so much. :)


    Hi, I realize this thread is getting a little old now, but just wanted to throw in my experience to the mix as well, hopefully be helpful....
    Typing this on a 12-yr-old Asus board, 1.3 ghz chip, 1GB Ram, running Ubuntu 11.10. Wireless adapter detected and ran straight out of the box, no issues. Graphics, sound, etc....all working well. So is torrent downloading.
    I did try 12.04 first, found it a little too slow for this old machine. I noticed you have a faster chip but less RAM, so not sure if that would balance out or not. But Ubuntu runs pretty well for the basics. Even does Windows shares back and forth with the rest of my network.
    Only thing so far I don't like is having to open Dash Home and search for programs, kind of a pain.
    I do have to agree with u_gonna_squeal, XP is still the best running OS on these oldies - I've got dual boot on this one and XP is definitely quicker and smoother.
  5. Lubuntu 11.04 is pretty good for older hardware. Really anything with Kernel 2.6 or 2.4 is better suited for older hardware. Personally would not recomend Ubuntu as a "free OS" any more. Have you seen what happens on their download page when you choose not to make a donation? It gives you an angry face icon for a second... Shuttleworth can fuck off with that kind of attitude, given the thousands of backs he's stood upon to achieve his success with Ubuntu (ie: Ubuntu wouldn't even be "a thing" if they removed the GNU software the Linux kernel).

    Screw Ubuntu and their bad attitude. Use Mint if you're looking for that kind of functionality.

    Incidentally, Slackware 13.37 with LXDE is my favorite OS for old hardware, in that it runs really well, but it's not super noober friendly.
  6. I don't know if it is the same for 11.10, but on 12.04 once you have the program open, you can pin it to the taskbar by right clicking on the program's icon. Once you do that, it will stay on the taskbar after you exit it just like it would in Windows. If you fill it up, it will scroll down by using the mouse wheel.

    Thanks, never noticed that before.....I would guess that's probably been there for several versions now, too......I should have thought of that, XP can easily do the same thing.
  7. u_gonna_squeal_b4_we_cookya said:
    I have a few old PCs with similar specs. The best free Linux distro I like due to its easy to use desktop and wide driver compatibility with older machines is Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (long term support) 32-bit: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop You can try it on the DVD before installing. I especially like how any wireless adapter is automatically detected and working as soon as you plug it in.

    I currently have it on an old Dell P4 2.8 GHz PC with 1 GB RAM and a 256 MB GPU and a Emachines 2.0 GHz Sempron and 512 MB of RAM. Both machines run great, everything works and it is much faster than if I was using Windows 7. Windows XP is still the best OS for an old PC from this era as it uses the least resources. But, with Ubuntu, your should be fine with 512 MB RAM.


    I know this is a month old... but I have to say that I have never found Linux to be as much of a resource hog as Windows XP. A lightweight distro, possibly using XFCE or LXDE will in my experience provide a much more responsive machine. This is particularly true since very little in the way of malware targets linux desktop/laptop machines. Mint and Ubuntu are probably the most user friendly right now, but there are lighter installations out there.
  8. MarylandBill said:
    u_gonna_squeal_b4_we_cookya said:
    I have a few old PCs with similar specs. The best free Linux distro I like due to its easy to use desktop and wide driver compatibility with older machines is Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (long term support) 32-bit: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop You can try it on the DVD before installing. I especially like how any wireless adapter is automatically detected and working as soon as you plug it in.

    I currently have it on an old Dell P4 2.8 GHz PC with 1 GB RAM and a 256 MB GPU and a Emachines 2.0 GHz Sempron and 512 MB of RAM. Both machines run great, everything works and it is much faster than if I was using Windows 7. Windows XP is still the best OS for an old PC from this era as it uses the least resources. But, with Ubuntu, your should be fine with 512 MB RAM.


    I know this is a month old... but I have to say that I have never found Linux to be as much of a resource hog as Windows XP. A lightweight distro, possibly using XFCE or LXDE will in my experience provide a much more responsive machine. This is particularly true since very little in the way of malware targets linux desktop/laptop machines. Mint and Ubuntu are probably the most user friendly right now, but there are lighter installations out there.


    Thank you very much for your suggestion!
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