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I have Dell Inspiron mini 10v with Intel Atom processor that was given to me. IT believe this has 1GB RAM. Unsure if it is HDD or SSD but how do I find out?

It does not have CD. However, I have usb 2.0 thumbdrive though. For the performance to work, I d like to be able to use text editor, browse the surf and watch videos such as Netflix and Youtube.

Does anybody have instructions or recommendations?

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for a lightweight and complete distro, check out Xubuntu or Lubuntu. Xubuntu has Xfce which is very fast and it has a very low memory footprint. as is Lubuntu which comes with the "minimal" desktop that is LXDE.

take a look at this post for a full list of Ubuntu-based distros.

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I run the hpMini with the Intel Atom processor. I use Lubuntu 14.04 for the 32 bit i386. It is my backup computer and seems to run fine.

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Lubuntu will best for you as it is lightest among the Ubuntu derivatives. You can use Xubuntu, if you want a bit more functionality than Lubuntu. If you want something visually appealing, then use Elementary OS, it looks a bit like OS X and is lighter than Unity.

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