I have an OLD Dell Inspiron laptop with a 1.60GHz Pentium, 500MB RAM and a 75GB hard drive. It has a CD read and write drive (will it even play an 800MB CD?), it does NOT have a DVD drive, it has 2 working USB ports and can read a memory stick, but it does not boot from a memory stick as far as I can tell, that not being one of the options in BOOT SETUP.

I would love to totally replace Windows XP with Ubuntu or another "beginner friendly" Linux distribution, but no one has offered a way for a relative beginner to do so given the equipment I have available.

I have seen this question "answered" many times. Usually people keep telling how to do it with a DVD or memory stick or saying it can't be done over and over and over.

Occasionally an 800MB CD is mentioned, but I don't want to buy the media if it won't work in my drive.

I may try to edit down the Ubuntu 14.04.01 download before trying to write it to a CD. I am not certain I can actually get rid of that much stuff without compromising the installation, but barring any other solution I may try.


If you have an internet connection during the installation, then you can try the net installer for Ubuntu from http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/netboot/. First, click on the version you want to install, then click on the architecture, then click on 'mini.iso'. Follow this tutorial to burn the image onto the disk.



antiX is a fast, lightweight and easy to install linux live CD distribution based on Debian Testing for Intel-AMD x86 compatible systems. antiX offers users the "antiX Magic" in an environment suitable for old computers.

So don't throw away that old computer yet! The goal of antiX is to provide a light, but fully functional and flexible free operating system for both newcomers and experienced users of Linux.

It should run on most computers, ranging from 64MB old PII 266 systems with pre-configured 128MB swap to the latest powerful boxes. 128MB RAM is recommended minimum for antiX. The installer needs minimum 2.2GB hard disk size. antiX can also be used as a fast-booting rescue cd.


  • I can vouch that I've used antix on an old windows98 computer and it installed perfectly although Lubuntu, Xubuntu, and even Ubuntu Studio should work on an XP box just fine. Although, as a last resort, Antix should have no problem. – mchid Jan 26 '15 at 0:41

What's wrong with you people. Lubuntu (click here to download 14.04 iso) is small enough to fit on a CD and is designed to be used on systems with limited resources.

Also, Ubuntu has a netinstall as well called ubuntu minimal that can be used to install Xubuntu or Ubuntustudio (or lubuntu, gnome session fallback etc.) which both work quite well on old computers (click here for link)

After initial installation, you will boot to a command line prompt. Here, type


and follow the prompts to select your desktop environment.


If you are ok with using Debian instead of Ubuntu, there is a web-installer for Debian: http://goodbye-microsoft.com/ Just follow the indtructions in WinXP, than your system will reboot and directly enter the debian installation menu.

Or you can download & burn the installer-CD: ( Different than for Ubuntu, DVD and CD images are provided ) https://www.debian.org/CD/http-ftp/#stable Download just the first CD ! (see explanation on the page)

( I tried both, Debian and Ubuntu. I dont think Ubuntu is so much more user-friendly .. actually all my systems currently run Debian. Since Ubuntu is based on Debian you should not have much trouble if you already used to Ubuntu. Most packages are the same. )

  • 2
    "I dont think Ubuntu is so much more user-friendly" Where is AskDebian? – Rinzwind Jan 25 '15 at 20:50
  • Actually most answers from AskUbuntu as well fit for debian. Where is the Ububtu-support for CD-only systems ? – Alex Jan 25 '15 at 20:54
  • yeah, but unless the person leaves out the fact they are using debian, the question (ahem, and answer) will probably be flagged and removed for not following forum guidelines. – mchid Jan 26 '15 at 0:37
  • By the way, AskUbuntu is not the only source where one can get Debian-Support .. but whatever, that's a bit out of scope here – Alex Jan 26 '15 at 17:31

You can just use Plop Boot to create a bootable cd and it will hand off to a bootable usb for you. Just go to download the ubuntu.iso of your choice, go to pendrivelinux.com Then download PlopBoot from here and follow the directions to burn a cd.

AskUbuntu PlopBoot

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