LXLE: A full-featured Operating System for an Aging PC

If you have an aging Windows computer that just can’t keep up with today’s Windows programs, you have three choices:

  1. Live with the problem
  2. Spend lots of money to purchase a new PC
  3. Replace your old Windows operating system with a new one, designed to run on older, lower-powered computers.

If you select option #3, you probably will soon be looking at a number of solutions based on Linux or Chromebook operating systems. One version of the Linux operating system you should consider is LXLE. It is an easy-to-use operating system, designed for computer novices as well as experienced Windows users who don’t want to spend money for a more powerful system.


As the LXLE web site states, “Aging hardware needs the right system to squeeze a few more years out of your current PC without sacrificing performance, capability, usability and aesthetics.” LXLE has a user interface that strongly resembles Windows; most users can switch from Windows to LXLE with only a minimal learning curve. Even better, LXLE won’t get viruses, so you won’t need an anti-virus program.

LXLE won’t run Windows programs but does have dozens of replacement programs available, and most of them are free of charge. For the genealogist, LXLE will run GRAMPS, the Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming System. GRAMPS is a full-featured genealogy program that is available free of charge. Similar programs are also available for word processing, spreadsheets, email, social media sites, instant messaging, and much, much more. LXLE is a full replacement for Windows as long as you are willing to switch from Windows programs to something else with the same functionality. Best of all is the price tag: FREE.


LXLE is based on Lubuntu, which is an Ubuntu Linux operating system using the LXDE desktop environment. It is designed to be a “drop-in and go” operating system, primarily for aging computers. Its design is based on the idea of installing it on any Windows computer to be relatively complete after installation. Since it is designed to be a complete drop in and go replacement for Windows XP, Vista, and for Windows 7, it includes more than just an operating system. The installation of LXLE includes programs that most users need for every-day use (word processing, email, and more) by including an excellent set of default apps. The GRAMPS genealogy program is not included in the default programs but is easily added later by a very simple-to-use software installation.

The LXLE web site at http://www.lxle.net lists the following features of the operating system:

  • Light on resources; Heavy on functions.
  • Always based on Ubuntu/Lubuntu LTS.
  • Uses an optimized LXDE user interface.
  • Four familiar desktop layout paradigms.
  • Prudent full featured Apps preinstalled.
  • Latest stable versions of major software.
  • Added PPAs extends available software.
  • Expose, Aero Snap, Quick Launch apps
  • Random Wallpaper, Panel Trash access
  • Theme consistency throughout system.
  • 100 gorgeous wallpapers preinstalled.
  • Numerous other tweaks/additions.
  • 32 and 64 bit OS versions available.
  • Boots & is online in less than 1 minute.

You can also run the LXLE operating system directly from a DVD disk or a flash drive without touching anything on your computer’s hard drive. Running from a DVD or flash drive will be slower than running from an installed version, but doing so provides an easy way to try LXLE for a while without making any changes to your present Windows installation. If you decide to keep LXLE and make it your primary operating system, you can install it permanently from the same DVD or flash drive. If you decide to NOT keep using LXLE, simply remove the DVD disk or flash drive and reboot. You will then return to your Windows system that has had no changes made since its last use.


LXLE can be downloaded online and copied to a CD or DVD disk for installation. If you are not familiar with downloading and making ISO disks, you may prefer to order an installation disk or even an installation flash drive at: https://www.osdisc.com/products/lxle?affiliate=lxle. Installation disks cost $5.95 plus postage while installation flashdrives cost more with prices that vary, depending on the capacity of that flash drive. Even the cheapest $14.95 flash drive with 8 gigabytes of storage is more than big enough to contain the entire LXLE operating system and applications. The flash drives with more storage capacity simply provide more storage space for your data.

In all cases, you must decide whether your computer uses 32-bit or 64-bit operating systems. If you do not know which version of Windows your computer is presently using, follow the instructions at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/32-bit-and-64-bit-windows#1TC=windows-7 to determine which version of Windows you are presently using.

LXLE isn’t perfect. Some computer users will not want to switch from familiar programs to programs that are similar but different. The LXLE interface is similar to, but not identical to, that of Windows 7. That will be an issue for some people. However, if you want to squeeze a few more years of use from your present PC and are willing to learn a few new things so that you don’t have to spend money needlessly, the LXLE operating could be a good choice for you.

LXLE isn’t the only version of Linux that is designed to look like and operate like Windows. LXLE has several very good competitors. However, LXLE is optimized for use on older, lower-powered PCs. I’d suggest you try it out by using the Live DVD or flash drive first to see if it meets your needs. It should work well on your older computer and especially on the one you keep in the closet now if you have already purchased a high-powered system. LXLE can be used as your second computer or one that you want to give to the grandchildren or to a relative who is not computer literate.

You can learn more about LXLE and even download all the required software at http://www.lxle.net. Again, if you are not comfortable with downloading and making ISO disks, you may prefer to order an installation disk or even an installation flash drive for a modest price at: https://www.osdisc.com/products/lxle?affiliate=lxle.


I’ve been happy with Linux since 2009 when Windows 7 came out. Oddly enough, the only thing I have missed has nothing to do with Windows. Apple doesn’t provide Itunes support for Linux so I’ve had difficulty getting music to my Ipad.

Skype works, Dropbox works, they say Netflix works. Evernote: from your desktop you are best off going to the website itself. There is an open source 3rd party program that syncs with Evernote but it can be a bit clunky at times.

Libreoffice will open and save all documents in Word format if you want. I miss the old Lotus 123 and Wordperfect more than I would ever miss Excel/Word.


    Oh, Ed, your are my new best friend. I LOVED Lotus and WordPerfect. Both were so user friendly. When my office had to switch to MS Word I almost cried. Gone was the WONDERFUL Reveal Codes which let me see every single keystroke. Made it so easy to correct those funky errors that aren’t visible within the document. There was no guesswork to fix just about anything. I didn’t use Lotus much but it, too, was easier to use than Excel. I had a co-worker who loved using Lotus when she was in our finance department and developed a real hatred for Excel. I would give anything to be able to back to WordPerfect. Fewer steps to get where you wanted to go unlike MS Word that seems to always take 1, 2 or 3 extra steps to accomplish what used to take only 1 or two. So nice to find someone who feels as I do.


@ Karen Krumbach,

WordPerfect is available via Corel. It’s always been above and beyond anything Word could do. http://www.wordperfect.com/us/


Have you tried Lotus Symphony. the Open Office version from IBM? It is elegant, easy to use, and lacks the annoyance factor. It also works on Linux.

I too used WordPerfect, and then Lotus. When our department went to MS Word, I lasted about 2 months. I said “I can’t do this!”, switched to Open Office and saved as a Word Doc. No one was the wiser. I am a retired Tech Writer and Word just gets in my way.


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