Like it or not, Windows XP is dead. Many XP systems aren't powerful enough to run Windows 7, 8.1, or even Ubuntu Linux. Lubuntu is a lightweight distribution that can breathe life into our old PC, even with a single core CPU and less than 512MB RAM. Let's install Lubuntu.
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Table of Contents
- Meet Lubuntu, the lightweight Ubuntu cousin
- A great Windows XP replacement
- How to install Lubuntu on a PC with 512MB-1GB of RAM
- How to install Lubuntu on a PC with 256MB of RAM
- To be continued... the essential Lubuntu settings
Meet Lubuntu, the lightweight Ubuntu cousin
Lubuntu is a Linux distribution based on the Ubuntu kernel, but with the more lightweight desktop environment LXDE instead of Unity.
Lubuntu is a simple distribution; It won't try to impress us with heavy graphics and special effects.
Instead, its main selling point is that it can pretty much run on any PC built in the past 15 years, even if it sports a Pentium II processor and 256MB of RAM.
So, if you 've got a PC from the era where we collectively thought that "dirty-beige" was the best color for a tower, Lubuntu will feel right at home.
Additionally, Lubuntu has more or less complete access to the vast Ubuntu software library, that includes tens of thousands of programs, most of them free and open source.
A great Windows XP replacement
If a PC is still running Windows XP in 2015, it's a pretty safe bet that a) It's not a gaming rig and b) It's not being used for heavy professional programs, such as the Adobe suites, AutoCAD or anything like that.
If we are using Windows XP just to surf the web and watch movies, Lubuntu can also do this, and it can do it faster and safer.
So, in this light, we won't be showing how to dual-boot Lubuntu and Windows XP. Instead, we will install Lubuntu completely overwriting Windows XP as our primary OS.
How to install Lubuntu on a PC with 512MB-1GB of RAM
There are two ways to install Lubuntu, depending on how much RAM there is on our old PC. The first way, using the graphical user interface, is for PCs that have at least 512MB of RAM.
We will find the latest version of Lubuntu at
The latest version, as of this writing, is 15.04, which came out in October 2015.
Since our PC has way less than 6GB of RAM, the 32bit version is the best fit.
Create Lubuntu installation media
Lubuntu is targeted at old computers, so our best option for an installation media is to go optical - an old PC might not support booting from a USB.
The ISO file for the latest version is larger than 700MB, so we will need to burn it to a DVD.
See our full guide for detailed instructions on how to create a Linux installation USB or DVD for any distribution.
Set up the BIOS to boot from CD / USB
As with any operating system, we need to change the boot order through the BIOS or a boot menu to begin the installation.
Since every BIOS can be completely different, read our full guide on how to change the boot order in any type of BIOS / UEFI.
Do a Lubuntu test-run with the Live Environment
Before we make the commitment and install Lubuntu, it's a good idea to make sure that Lubuntu is compatible with our computer's hardware.
So, after we choose the language - English is the default...
...we select the first option, "Try Lubuntu without installing".
We should note that this mode by default won't make any changes on our hard drive. It will run exclusively from the CD/DVD or USB, and any changes we do to Lubuntu will be lost on next reboot - unless we created a USB with persistence.
If our PC connects to the internet through WiFi, we can select our wireless network from the icon on the right side of the taskbar.
To confirm that we have full network connectivity, and at the same time our sound card is working, we can fire up Firefox, the pre-installed browser in Lubuntu...
...and load our favorite YouTube video.
Once we confirm that both the network and the sound work as they should, we double-click on the Install Lubuntu icon to begin the installation.
Install Lubuntu 15.10, replacing Windows
It's a good idea to check both the checkboxes, so we get necessary updates and have full support for Mp3 files.
The installation gives us the option to install Lubuntu alongside Windows XP, but we won't be doing that for this guide. Instead, we select the second option, "Erase disk and install Lubuntu".
It goes without saying that this option will delete anything and everything on our hard drive, so we should have taken a full backup first.
The system will provide a "last chance" option, in case we forgot to back up anything important. Unless we select "Continue", nothing will be erased from the disk.
We select our time zone, either on the map or typing the name of our town...
...select our keyboard layout...
...and fill in our information for our user account. If we don't want to enter the password every time we start Lubuntu, we should select the "Log in automatically" option.
After that, the rest of the installation is on auto-pilot, it won't need any more of our input.
At the end of it, we need to restart the system to enter the Lubuntu installation.
If we used a CD or DVD, the system will eject the disc. On some systems, it might seem like it's stuck. It's safe to power off or reset the system using the power or the reset button on our PC.
On next boot, we enter our brand-new Lubuntu Installation.
How to install Lubuntu on a PC with 256MB of RAM
If our PC is ancient and has less than 512MB of RAM, this is not enough for the full GUI installation. We need to install Lubuntu in an alternate way.
After we set up the boot sequence to boot from the CD, we don't have the option to try the live environment, so we select the "Install Lubuntu" option.
Admittedly, the alternate installation procedure looks like crap. However, the end installation will look the same as with the full GUI installer.
There is also no mouse support; we must navigate everything through the keyboard.
Speaking of it, first we select a keyboard layout from a list.
The options are straightforward, following the on-screen instructions.
The only slight challenge is the partitioning. We should choose to unmount dev/sda if we get such a prompt...
...and then select the Guided - use entire disk options, to delete everything on the disk and install Lubuntu.
We need to save the changes to disks, for the installation to proceed.
If we aren't using a proxy, we can leave the relevant option blank.
A few options later, the installation is done.
And that's it. Our Lubuntu installation is done.
To be continued... the essential Lubuntu settings
On a next guide, we will see the essential Lubuntu settings for our new installation.
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