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What is the least memory consuming Linux OS that is capable of replacing windows 7?

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November 21, 2013 4:03:27 PM

I am running a Toshiba satellite laptop from 2010-2011 and windows 7 has become laggy and I saw a Linux demo at this after-school club that i go to and i would like an outsiders opinion on the matter.
a c 83 } Memory
a b 5 Linux
a c 520 $ Windows 7
November 21, 2013 4:18:51 PM

Windows does not "become laggy" all by itself. That can happen with a bunch of weird installs, or too many services running, or too many things autostarting when you turn it on.

Maybe a fresh reinstall is needed?

But for Linux? It greatly depends on what you do with it. If you play a lot of games, Linux may not be the right answer.

But if you want to investigate, I suggest Ubuntu or LinuxMint. Both can boot and run directly off a DVD so you can evaluate and see if it is something for you.
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a b 5 Linux
a b $ Windows 7
November 21, 2013 6:16:56 PM

PuppyLinux, SLAX, Porteus... will consume less than 128MB of ram and can run from flash drive... though these are pretty barren OS compared to full featured desktops!

Your laptop is likely has hardware capable of running any linux distrobution in existence without issue... Checkout Ubuntu or Linux Mint first
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November 21, 2013 11:06:54 PM

Note: I always encourage Linux when it makes sense for the user

That being said, (as USAFRet suggested) if Windows once worked fine on your machine, then there is no reason why it shouldn't work the same today. Reinstall Windows.

And to what skittle is saying, personally, I haven't met a Linux distribution that is more demanding on hardware than Windows. Generally they have been at the worst equal, probably less. The exception would probably be gaming (the same game running both in Windows and Linux). This is most likely because graphics drivers are much more mature in Windows.

My vote is Linux Mint. I prefer the KDE edition, but I'd say download Universal USB Installer, pick a Linux ISO you want to try, build a bootable USB stick and give one a try. You have nothing to lose.
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November 22, 2013 12:51:37 AM

^^Agree to the comment above. Linux Mint KDE or Cinnamon or Mate are all very stable.
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November 30, 2013 6:53:21 AM

Linux Lite is pretty "friendly" ... based on Ubuntu 12.04
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December 6, 2013 1:58:36 PM

If you run Windows 7, I assume you have at least 1GB of ram. Almost any Linux distro, designed for users, works well with such amount. There are many distros that come with office suite. Ubuntu and Mint being most popular. My suggestion is to try them both. I prefer Ubuntu, because their colours look nicer to me. If you need something smaller, you can check this list out.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightweight_Linux_distribu...
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December 11, 2013 5:18:53 AM

I agree with others that suggested Linux Mint - it is probably the most complete desktop distribution. If you don't have more than 4GB of RAM, and don't intend to add RAM, you can download the 32bit version. Linux Mint offers a choice of desktops: Mate, Cinnamon, and XFCE. Linux Mint 16 XFCE is currently a "release candidate" or RC so you may want to wait until it's released. XFCE is the most lightweight of all the above desktops, but has some minor drawbacks in the usability department. If you have 1GB or more of RAM, Mate and Cinnamon are good options.

A utility named Unetbootin is available for Windows (and Linux). You can download and use it to prepare a bootable Linux USB stick. Plug in a USB stick, run Unetbootin and point to the ISO image you downloaded. The program does the rest (be patient, it takes a few minutes). This way you can download and test different distributions, or for example Linux Mint's different desktop versions (Mate, Cinnamon, XFCE).

Don't forget to download and look at the Linux Mint manual, it can be very helpful for beginners. Good luck!
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December 11, 2013 7:13:25 AM

powerhouse32 said:
I agree with others that suggested Linux Mint - it is probably the most complete desktop distribution. If you don't have more than 4GB of RAM, and don't intend to add RAM, you can download the 32bit version. Linux Mint offers a choice of desktops: Mate, Cinnamon, and XFCE. Linux Mint 16 XFCE is currently a "release candidate" or RC so you may want to wait until it's released. XFCE is the most lightweight of all the above desktops, but has some minor drawbacks in the usability department. If you have 1GB or more of RAM, Mate and Cinnamon are good options.

A utility named Unetbootin is available for Windows (and Linux). You can download and use it to prepare a bootable Linux USB stick. Plug in a USB stick, run Unetbootin and point to the ISO image you downloaded. The program does the rest (be patient, it takes a few minutes). This way you can download and test different distributions, or for example Linux Mint's different desktop versions (Mate, Cinnamon, XFCE).

Don't forget to download and look at the Linux Mint manual, it can be very helpful for beginners. Good luck!


Modern CPU and 32bit OS'es actually support 64GB RAM, because of PAE, which allows extra 4 bits to be used when addressing memory, with several restrictions.
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December 11, 2013 8:39:26 PM

Puppy is the most lightweight, but I don't think it is suitable as a Windows replacement. With hardware that is only a couple years old I think you can do much better.

Ubuntu would be totally fine (I ran it with no problems on an Intel Atom netbook from 2011 or so). However, the most lightweight that would fully replace Windows would be Mint XFCE or XUbuntu (which both use XFCE desktop); and Mint LXDE or LUbuntu (which use LXDE desktop). In my experience, the Mint distributions advantage is that they come with multimedia codecs (for ripping DVDs and mp3s, for example) installed out of the box, while the advantage of Ubuntu distributions is they have a better selection of software.
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