[SOLVED] What's A Good Lightweight but User Friendly Linux Distro?

Optiplex4G

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I have an old laptop that's struggling to run Windows 10, but I don't feel like dropping hundreds of dollars on a new laptop and having to deal with Windows 11. What is a good lightweight but still user friendly distro of Linux that isn't as resource heavy as Windows 10 but is still capable of doing basic things like web browsing, video streaming, typing documents, checking email, etc? Any advice is appreciated!
 
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USAFRet

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Thanks for the quick reply! If you had to pick one over the other what would you choice be? Do either of them have a GUI similar to Windows or are they very different?
Any of the Linux GUI desktop environments are different enough from "Windows", to be ... different.
But also, they are pretty easy to get used to.

They are also easy to try, via a LinuxLive USB.
No install on the internal HDD needed, just run it from a flash drive and see how it goes.
 

USAFRet

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I have an old laptop that's struggling to run Windows 10, but I don't feel like dropping hundreds of dollars on a new laptop and having to deal with Windows 11. What is a good lightweight but still user friendly distro of Linux that isn't as resource heavy as Windows 10 but is still capable of doing basic things like web browsing, video streaming, typing documents, checking email, etc? Any advice is appreciated!
Typically, Ubuntu or LinuxMint.
 

USAFRet

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Thanks for the quick reply! If you had to pick one over the other what would you choice be? Do either of them have a GUI similar to Windows or are they very different?
Any of the Linux GUI desktop environments are different enough from "Windows", to be ... different.
But also, they are pretty easy to get used to.

They are also easy to try, via a LinuxLive USB.
No install on the internal HDD needed, just run it from a flash drive and see how it goes.
 

punkncat

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Lubuntu if you have to go that resource friendly. It starts pretty sparce and would likely count on you knowing some stuff about Linux in general to make it more use friendly. In my own case, it's handy to have another web enabled device around to answer questions and show me how type stuff.

I like Ubuntu a great deal, as it has a lot of seemingly Windows-centric automatic feature and loads of online support. Very easy to use as a daily driver and great looking UI to boot. I have a group of PC that I will most likely migrate to this at W10 EOL.
 

Optiplex4G

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Lubuntu if you have to go that resource friendly. It starts pretty sparce and would likely count on you knowing some stuff about Linux in general to make it more use friendly. In my own case, it's handy to have another web enabled device around to answer questions and show me how type stuff.

I like Ubuntu a great deal, as it has a lot of seemingly Windows-centric automatic feature and loads of online support. Very easy to use as a daily driver and great looking UI to boot. I have a group of PC that I will most likely migrate to this at W10 EOL.
So Ubuntu is basically the Toyota Corolla of Linux? Not super fancy but overall dependable and easy to use?
 

Optiplex4G

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Yes, except it costs $0 to try...;)
Sounds like a good deal, and it seems like it's going to be the most compatible with a wide array of software. With that being said is there a VPN that works with Ubuntu? I'm using ProtonVPN right now and I'd like to have the option to use it or a similar free VPN when I switch to Ubuntu.
 

USAFRet

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Sounds like a good deal, and it seems like it's going to be the most compatible with a wide array of software. With that being said is there a VPN that works with Ubuntu? I'm using ProtonVPN right now and I'd like to have the option to use it or a similar free VPN when I switch to Ubuntu.
I don't use a VPN, so no idea or opinion.
 

BFG-9000

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I wouldn't call Linux Mint "lightweight," when especially with the Cinnamon desktop it is every bit as full-featured as Windows 10 or 11 and can use just as many resources. Perhaps with the Xfce desktop it might seem a bit lighter. BTW Mint is based on Ubuntu + can use all of the Ubuntu packages.

Lightweight is something like the 300MB Puppy Linux which loads entirely into RAM on boot so the Live CD or USB is just as fast as when installed to disk. You can get it in Ubuntu, Slackware or Debian versions even for Raspberry Pi.

However I agree with punkncat in that a more friendly and intuitive distro like Lubuntu, Xubuntu or Linux Lite (all Ubuntu based) would probably be a better compromise for someone coming from Windows, especially since your laptop actually runs Windows 10 so it doesn't have to be that light. ProtonVPN's Linux App runs on all of these, you just double-click the package to install it.

All it takes is a bit of time to try them all, so see what you like. You might even find Mint with Cinnamon to run adequately fast once installed to disk
 
Sep 26, 2022
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I have an old laptop that's struggling to run Windows 10, but I don't feel like dropping hundreds of dollars on a new laptop and having to deal with Windows 11. What is a good lightweight but still user friendly distro of Linux that isn't as resource heavy as Windows 10 but is still capable of doing basic things like web browsing, video streaming, typing documents, checking email, etc? Any advice is appreciated!
People throw around Ubuntu and Linux mint a lot. The problem with these distros is that they’re loaded with crap and will slow you down. As far as gui goes your desktop environment is going to be the big factor for resources. The main two people will mention are kde and gnome. Both of these are going to be pretty heavy on the resources. There are other de/gui’s available (many actually, one to suit just about everything you could want to do) I would suggest going to Google and searchig
“linux de lightweight” I saw a nice list when I did. I would suggest trying these out on a distribution but that might be too much for right now. Go have a look. If you have to go the Ubuntu route they compile distributions with different de’s, someone suggested lubuntu, there are others. I would suggest having a look at Debian, as it’s made to run on older hardware. They also let you pick the desktop environment you want during distribution.
 

USAFRet

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People throw around Ubuntu and Linux mint a lot. The problem with these distros is that they’re loaded with crap and will slow you down.
Yes, there are a lot of other distros that are slimmer, sometimes VERY much slimmer.

Mint and Ubuntu are usually referenced because they are very easy for a newbie to get their feet wet with.
And something that is currently running Win 10 but 'struggling' isn't THAT far out of date or underpowered.
 

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