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These are the 9 smallest Linux distros that are both small and super lightweight.

Strapped for hard disk space? These lightweight Linux distros will make your computer usable again.


Are you a homeowner with an old computer lying around collecting dust? Do you want to make the most of that small-capacity USB Flash drive in your drawer? Installing a small Linux distribution on your old computer and the USB flash drive can allow you to reuse them.

These are the eight smallest Linux distros, which take up almost no space.

Before you start: How to create bootable USB flash drives

First, you will need a tool to make a USB flash drive bootable. Before you can do anything else, you will need to first burn the Linux distro to a bootable media. You have many options to make a bootable USB flash disk. Rufus is the best choice for Windows users, while Etcher is a good option for Linux and macOS users.


Rufus is one the most efficient and simplest USB burning tools for Windows users . You can customize it and it will detect your USB flash drive automatically. Rufus can also detect which ISO type you’re trying to burn, and create a common configuration for any small Linux distro.

Download: Rufus to Windows


Linux and macOS users can use Etcher, an open source USB burning tool. Etcher, like Rufus, is small, fast, and has a simple GUI that makes it easy to use. Etcher has very few settings but works great the majority of the times. Windows users may find Rufus confusing. Etcher is also available.

Download Etcher

Let’s move on to the small Linux distros.

1. ArchBang

ArchBang is built on Arch Linux, and was inspired by CrunchBang which was a small Linux distro. ArchBang is Arch Linux simplified and reduced in size. It offers all the power and flexibility that Arch Linux has without the need for complicated setups and installations. However, it is a small Linux distro bundle.

RELATED:Should you Install Arch Linux? Here are the Top Reasons to Use Arch-Based Distros

ArchBang is compatible with x86_64 and i686 machines. It uses 700MB of hard drive space and only 256MB memory.

ArchBang can be used as either a desktop OS or as a portable, live operating system. ArchBang is fast, stable and always up-to-date, making it an ideal minimal Linux distro for anyone who has an older computer.


2. Tiny Core Linux

Tiny Core is a Linux distro created by Robert Shingledecker (lead developer of Damn Small Linux). Even though Damn Small Linux is no longer online, active ISOs can still be found online.

Tiny Core Linux TinyCore installation takes 21MB. This includes the base distro, decent GUI, and the Tiny Core Linux installation. To run the base installation, you need at least 46MB RAM. However, you’ll need more to run other applications. TinyCore does not offer wireless support. You will need an Ethernet cable in order to connect to the internet.

Most people will choose the ” CorePlus” option, which weighs in at 106MB. CorePlus supports wireless keyboards and alternative window managers.


3. Absolute Linux

Absolute Linux, a 64-bit Linux distro, is built upon the Slackware project. It comes preinstalled with Libre Office, Firefox and doesn’t bother with heavyweight desktop options like KDE or GNOME. Absolute Linux instead uses the lightweight IceWM window manager.

Although it isn’t the most compact Linux distro, either in actual size or installation size, it will work on any hardware due to its lightweight package and minimal hardware requirements.

4. Porteus

Porteus is an easy-to-use, lightweight Linux distro that can be run from a USB flash stick. Are you lacking one? Don’t worry! Porteus can also be used with a CD, DVD or SD card. Porteus is small and extremely fast. It allows you to get online and boot while other operating systems are still trying to do so.


Porteus can be run on any Intel, AMD or VIA 64 processor. It requires only 512MB of storage space and 256MB memory. Porteus can be run from removable media, so no hard drive is necessary. Porteus can be used on removable media devices, so you can use its “Persistent” mode to save data on the storage device.

It’s available in 32-bit (perfectly for older computers) and 64-bit. The kiosk edition, which is a stripped-down version of the system that can be used by the public via web terminals, is also available. You have the option to download Cinnamon, KDE or MATE versions of Porteus.

5. Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is a lightweight Linux distro. It should be installed and run from a USB flash drive or SD card. Puppy Linux can be installed on any hardware you wish. However, you don’t need to have your USB flash drive.

Puppy Linux is not a single distribution. It also doesn’t have many “flavors”. For example, Ubuntu variants can include Kubuntu (Xubuntu), Lubuntu (Lubuntu), and so forth. Puppy Linux, instead, is a collection Linux distributions that share the same principles, use the same tools and have the same set of “puppy” applications.


Six official Puppy Linux distributions are available at the time of writing. Each requires 300MB of hard drive space or less, but each has different CPU and RAM requirements.

You can find more information and select the correct version by visiting the Puppy Linux distribution download webpage.

6. SliTaz

SliTaz (or Simple Light Incredible Temporary Automatous Zone) is a lightweight and fully-featured graphical Linux distribution. SliTaz, which is a small, stable, fast, and simple Linux distro, is the ideal combination.

SliTaz requires minimum requirements to function. This includes an i486/x86 Intel-compatible processor and at least 80MB of disk space. There is also a requirement for 192MB RAM. However, depending on which version of SliTaz, this could drop down as low as 16MB RAM.

SliTaz runs largely in your system’s memory. This is a cool feature. You can also remove the USB flash drive from SliTaz’s bootable USB flash drive to be used for other purposes once it is up. SliTaz has a “persistent” feature that allows you save your data and personal settings to removable media so they are available for your next boot. This feature will only work if your media is kept in the machine.


7. antiX Linux

Debian’s antiX Linux distro, which is tiny, receives regular updates that deliver tweaks, new features and updates. AntiX Linux is a well-known Linux distribution that’s friendly to old hardware. Many people turn to it to get their laptops running again.

AntiX runs on 256MB RAM, but it can be run on less. For installation, you will also require a 4GB hard disk.

It looks great, even though antiX Linux has a small footprint. IceWM window manager is included in the base package. This allows for a lot of customization. You can also customize an extensive range of antiX features with the integrated antiX panel.

RELATED: Top Reasons to Choose Debian Linux

8. Bodhi Linux

Bodhi Linux is the last tiny Linux distro you should check out. Bodhi Linux, an Ubuntu LTS-based Linux distro with all the features that comes with it, uses the Moksha Desktop. Bodhi Linux is available in three editions: the Standard edition (AppPack edition), and the Legacy edition (Legacy edition).


Standard editions come with limited options and applications. AppPack editions offer more options, applications, and options beyond the box. The Legacy edition, which is the smallest of the three, was designed to work with older and less powerful hardware.

Bodhi Linux requires a minimum of 500MHz processor, at most 128MB RAM and 4GB disk space.

9. Linux Lite

Image Credit: Jerry Bezencon/Wikimedia

Linux Lite is the last minimal Linux distro. Linux Lite may not be the smallest Linux distro, but it runs well on enough hardware. Ubuntu recommends a 1GHz processor and 768MB RAM. 8GB storage is recommended. Modern hardware far exceeds these specs. You can see how Linux Lite will work on older machines.

Linux Lite, a small Linux distro, is also available. It’s designed to be user-friendly. Linux Lite was specifically designed to assist Microsoft Windows users in moving to Linux. It features a similar UI and familiar programs like Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC, and Thunderbird. There is also the option to download additional packages.


A tiny Linux Distro can help you revive your old hardware

These super-small Linux distros can be used to bring back your old computer or any other hardware. These lightweight Linux distros can be used to give a single computer to a relative that doesn’t require a complex operating system.

  1. ArchBang
  2. Tiny Core Linux
  3. Absolute Linux
  4. Porteus
  5. Puppy Linux
  6. SliTaz
  7. AntiX Linux
  8. Bodhi Linux
  9. Linux Lite

These Linux distros will also allow users to surf the internet, listen to and watch media, check their email and create simple documents. These distributions are simple to use and Windows users will have no trouble migrating to Linux from Windows.




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