Best Linux for an old Sony laptop?

Hello people of linuxforums! :grinning:

I’m looking for a suggestion as the title suggests, I have a friend’s old Sony Vaio (I’m not at the machine right now but can provide model number etc later if required) which I estimate to be from around 2005-2007. 80GB HDD, 1.7GHz Intel single core CPU with 512MB RAM. The laptop has only ever been used very lightly, and was running XP very smoothly and quietly, however I’ve obviously explained to my friend that to continue to run XP is not a great idea. It’ll be used generally as a back-up, mainly for web browsing and viewing YouTube videos.

I’m new to linux, having installed Mint 21.3 on one of my own desktops, and whilst I’m really taking a liking to it, I don’t think my friend’s laptop is going to have the hardware requirements to run such a recent distro, so… are there any suggestions?


Hi Bazman,

You may find that some of the more recent distro’s do work, but I don’t think you’ll get an GUI in 512M. (4G is generally the minimum for anything usable)

Some suggestions;

This dates back to 2005 so ties in with the age of your machine, it’s obviously 20 years old so very “not” current, but if you want to get a feel for Linux, it should work in 256M of RAM. (Don’t do anything “real” with it, there have probably been a few security holes found in the last 20 years …)

Note; It’s probably the fastest version of Linux from the period (Gentoo based and ‘tuned’), and it can run off a 256M USB key using a tweaked version of JFFS2 which implements “wear levelling” in software.

If you take a look at AntiX-core / 32-bit, this may run for you - but no GUI. For an older Linux with a GUI that isn’t “Flash Linux”, an older copy of DSL should work for you;


Hi Bazman

By the your description, you’re a bit limited, but I’d like to suggest Bodhi, they’ve just released V7 with the Moksha desktop and it’s a nice clean Ubuntu based distribution, Bodhi has been around for years so it’s a very mature project and in my view doesn’t get the credit it deserves, The Enlightment desktop does take a bit of getting used to especially navigating through the the settings which is extremely feature rich for such a lightweight distro but it’s worth the effort, I have it installed on a an old Samsung netbook with an Atom 1.66 GHZ processor and 2 GB of ram and it runs well, I’d be lying if I said it ran super fast but it’s more that adequate for the purposes I use this netbook, They do a 32 bit non PAE version for older machines, you can see the system requirements here System Requirements - Bodhi Linux .

Good luck whichever way you go