Linux distro

Hi folks,

I have an old Pentium Laptop on hand (from 2009). I would like to set it up as a spare. Basically for surfing, email, some office work, etc.
What Linux version would be the “easiest” to use? Thanks for your insights.


1 Like

hey @mirong! Check out Ubuntu, Elementary, and Linux Mint. I don’t use linux a ton so run Ubuntu on my old laptop (dual boot with windows). As a non-wizard of linux I find it easy to use.

1 Like

I think it is fairly safe to say that Ubunutu is one of the most, if not the most, new-user friendly distros, but you can’t go wrong with any of the ones that Janet mentioned.


Thirding Ubuntu


Come to think of it, depending on how old it is, I like Netrunner on older hardware. It’s a Debian variant like Ubuntu and is still very easy to pick up but lacking some of the bells and whistles of Ubuntu. I use it on my personal laptop; that thing is a cinderblock.

1 Like

Mint is my favourite. Both Ubuntu and Mint have options to run from a USB stick so try both then install the one you prefer. You won’t go wrong with either.


Even for its time, it has pretty low specs, like only 3Gb memory. And the BIOS does not have a USB boot option. Decided to burn an Ubuntu disc and go from there.
Thank you all for your input.


I have just setup mint with btrfs / and /home
Both backed up to a mounted backup drive through btrfs send | btrfs receive

One warning btrfs send from a hdd is incredibly slow. You might just want to go with snapshots, without btrfs send | btrfs receive backups
I decided not to use timeshift because it does not support backups via btrfs send | btrfs recieve

I don’t use btrfs dedup. I highly recommend you wait until the current btrfs-progs works through into the distro. Distros are a little slow pushing file system tool updates onto users. That is a good thing.

I also use a lot of git repositories for this I wrote

and use
git_scripts has been customized for my personal tastes.

But Mint and Ubuntu use secure boot keys which maybe what your need. But be careful with dual booting windows. And other distros that require secure boot.

If you want to avoid the secure boot key issues I recommend sparkylinux (debian)

For your low spec requirements. Do you need nvidia driver support requiring secure boot key?
If you don’t need secure boot keys.
DO NOT select it as part of the installation process.

Also for a low spec machine select xfce4 avoid resource hogs gnome, cinnamon mate
You will find xfce4 is all you need. Eye candy doesn’t get the job done any faster.

Xfce4 default is reason enough to choose mint over ubuntu

If you decided to take advantage of the btrfs snapshots. Which provide very fast efficient save points. You must disable btrfs quota on all hdd drives.
btrfs quota and other btrfs operations fight for disk io.

I like btrfs snaphots. I can rm * and recover everything by booting from a usb to change the mounted btrfs subvolume and continue.

Incremental backups to local or remote btrfs file systems are also very efficient.