Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Monday, November 15, 2021 at 11:21

Do you have an old desktop PC or laptop? We have happy news to you. You can reuse it, rather than throw it away or leaving it unused. To revive your computer, install a GNU/Linux operating system that supports old computers and is actively supported. This will give your old computer a fresh life once again, for general purpose, as well as for specific purpose like multimedia creativity and programming. You can receive latest software and security updates by using one of them on your old machine. Finally, we compile these choices in alphabetical order from antiX to Zorin OS that still support up to 15 years old computers a.k.a. 32-bit PCs with tens of thousands latest software packages. Happy computing!

 (Trisquel Mini, a good operating system for old PCs,
displayed in low resolution)

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Why Not Using Windows or MacOS?

Modern Windows operating system versions like 8, 10 and 11 are heavy and requiring reasonably new and expensive hardware and slowly forcing end-users to leave behind their old computers or even throw them away. Likewise, MacOS even cannot be used unless on its own hardware brand, the Apple Macintosh. Please note as well that in the Free Software Foundation had already warned us of their serious non-repairable security issues with both proprietary software OSes. Why not using them? Because now it is practically impossible. However, it is possible and very good to use the best alternative according to our Free Software Community, the GNU/Linux operating system to revive and breathe new life to your old computers.

Old Computers

What is an old computer? It is a desktop PC or laptop that is considered old, or slow, or not capable enough by today's norms and you can identify yours if it is one of these examples. It is often also called as i386, i686, or x86.
  • Intel Pentium desktop.
  • Intel Atom netbooks.
  • AMD Athlon PCs and laptops.
  • Old models of Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, and TOSHIBA desktops and laptops. 
  • PCs with BIOS Legacy and under 4GB memory.

OS Choices

The simplest way to explain what you need to do is you should find a low-resource, lightweight free software desktop system with either LXDE or Xfce that is still supporting i386 and actively developed. For that reason, there are several OS choices suitable for old PC revival:

  • antiX
  • AV
  • Bunsenlabs
  • Debian
  • Devuan
  • Fedora Spin LXDE
  • Lubuntu
  • LXLE
  • MX
  • Sparky
  • Trisquel Mini
  • Zorin OS Lite



antiX is a lightweight full-featured operating system based on Debian. Specifically, antiX is systemd-free similar to Devuan and Hyperbola and is promised to run on a 32-bit 256MB system old computer. Its latest version is 21 codenamed Grup Yorum based on Debian Bullseye released this year. Download antiX at

AV GNU/Linux

Audio Video GNU/Linux, that is the long name, an operating system specialized for multimedia creativity and production. In other words, AV is an alternative to Ubuntu Studio with the core difference its latest version still supports both 32 and 64 bit computers. Download AV at



Bunsenlabs, formerly Crunchbang, is a lightweight, fast and customizable operating system. It supports both 32 and 64 bit kinds of computer. Its latest version is called Lithium released in 2020 and based on Debian Buster. Download Bunsenlabs at


The universal free software operating system from the United States that leads the whole GNU/Linux world. Its latest version as well as tens of thousands of its software packages are available for both 32 and 64 bit computers. Its latest version today is 11 codenamed Bullseye. Download Debian at


Devuan is another full-featured, Netherland origin, universal operating system derived from Debian. The key difference is that Devuan is completely free from a component called systemd. It supports both 32 and 64 bit architectures and uses Xfce as its default desktop environment by its full edition. Its latest version is 4.0 codenamed Chimaera. Download Devuan at

Fedora Spin LXDE (64-bit) 

Fedora is the Hawaii origin, leading edge operating system in the world of GNU/Linux and is the basis of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.  It has an LXDE edition, namely Fedora Spin LXDE, that is suitable for older computers, however it does not 32-bit, and is an exception in this list as you can still use it on an old 64-bit computers anyway. Its latest version today is 35. Download Spin LXDE at

Lubuntu 18.04 LTS

Lubuntu Bionic Beaver or version 18.04 LTS is still available and supported today available for both 32 and 64 bit. Lubuntu Bionic can be downloaded at


LXLE is a full-featured GNU/Linux operating system specialized for aging computers. It is available for both 32 and 64 bit architectures. Its latest version is 18.04.3 that is based on Ubuntu Bionic Beaver released 2019. LXLE can be downloaded at


MX is a fast, lightweight and desktop-oriented operating system based on Debian GNU/linux and is a relative to antiX. Today, MX is the number one ranked by The difference is that MX offers KDE, Xfce and Fluxbox desktop environments. Download MX at


Sparky GNU/Linux

Sparky is a fast and lightweight operating system based on Debian and is available for both 32 and 64 bit computers with several choices of desktop environment.  It offers two editions namely stable and rolling release. Latest version is released this year that is version 6.1 codenamed Po Tolo. Download Sparky at


Trisquel Mini

The completely free software operating system Trisquel with LXDE desktop is called Trisquel Mini. It is available for both 64 and 32 bit computers along with tens of thousands applications for general purposes offered on its repository. Its latest version today is 9 "Etiona". Download Trisquel Mini at

Zorin OS Lite Edition

Zorin OS is an Ireland, European desktop operating system geared to become an alternative to Windows and macOS with a Lite Edition among its official editions. This edition is specialized to empower up to 15 years old computers with tens of thousands software packages for both 32 and 64 bit architectures. Download OS Lite Edition 15.3

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.