Question Old Thinkpad, which Linux?


Aug 3, 2015
Hi folks,
I daily use still (for my needs) an excellent Lenovo Thinkpad x201. It has a dual core, hyperthreaded first-gen i5, 8gb ddr3 and 256 gb ssd.
Windows 10 runs very good on it. It is mainly for office work.

I'd gladly install a Linux dual boot on it. I'd choose some reliable and proven, stable, regularly and easily updated distro (not some newbie one), with large enough user base (to troubleshoot possible issues), not too stripped (I'd like most things preinstalled like codecs and some basic viewers) but not so heavy either (like I think Ubuntu is).

First comes on my mind Linux Mint (which one though?). I've found out for a Pepperminut as well. Thoughtful suggestions and insights would be certainly appreciated :)
Cheers :giggle:
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First thing that cross my mind is Fedora. The desktop version ship with Gnome desktop, but it's very easy to change desktop to say Cinnamon.
Personal experience is that the official version is more stable than the spins.

Solus also seems to be a decent distro, unfortunately I haven't tested it over time.


Jan 1, 2014
I do not think Fedora is a new user friendly and gnome is ram hog. on my t420 Ubuntu uses 1.5 GB running. I suggest Linux Mint 19.3 Xfce on my desktop it uses 575MB idle. Linux desktop second gen i3. I would suggest LM 19.3 Mate but recently it has been having login issues with a fresh install after a updates are applied. LM 19.3 Cinnamon would use about the same ram but be slower start up from a cold boot. SSD would make the booting a bit faster. As for the duel booting with win 10 can be difficult with some laptops.
I do not think Fedora is a new user friendly . . .
Gnome desktop is very different from windows, so yes - Mate, Xfce, etc is probably more intuitive for a windows user.

. . . and gnome is ram hog.
Yes it is, but Fedora have made it easy to change desktop environment. It then appears as a little drop down menu on the login screen, so any one can choose back to gnome right there.


Jan 15, 2005
I'd recommend installing VirtualBox in Windows 10 and test drive different distributions. You won't get a true sense on how it will run directly but you will be able to kick the tires without the risk of goofing up the whole system. Once you like one enough, then go down the path of dual booting.

I'd also recommend starting off with an Ubuntu variant, there is a vast amount of help out there for Ubuntu. I personally use Kubuntu. While most people will state that KDE is bloated and a memory hog, I believe that is overstated more often than not. I pay less attention to the resources being used and how it actually performs for my day to day tasks.


Sep 26, 2019
Any of the recent Mint versions should be fine on that computer, and they are functionally similar enough to windows to make the transfer pretty straightforward.


Don't worry too much about the distro, it's the desktop that hogs the RAM and CPU. Gnome3 is heavy, KDE is... meh, Cinnamon is light, xfce is lighter, LXDE is lightweight. Most can be made to look like a Windows version, but this actually makes it more confusing - try one, look in all its not and crannies, then change the desktop environment (no need to reinstall, only get the appropriate meta package, log off, change settings on the login screen, log back in).
I find Ubuntu to be very flexible for that, so you may want to try it first. Once you have found your preferred DE, switch to a distro that uses it as its main DE.