Are you frustrated by the slow performance of your Linux-powered low-powered device? Do you want to optimize your Linux installation to make the most of your device’s limited resources?

If so, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, we’ll cover tips and tricks for optimizing Linux for low-powered devices.

Why Optimize Linux for Low-Powered Devices?

Low-powered devices, such as old laptops or single-board computers like Raspberry Pi, have limited resources like RAM, CPU, and storage. As a result, running a resource-intensive operating system like Windows or even a bloated Linux distribution can lead to slow performance and decreased battery life. By optimizing Linux for low-powered devices, you can improve performance and prolong the lifespan of your device.

Choosing a Linux Distribution for Low-Powered Devices

The first step in optimizing Linux for low-powered devices is to choose a lightweight Linux distribution. Lightweight Linux distributions are designed to run efficiently on older or lower-end hardware. They usually have a smaller installation footprint, require fewer system resources, and are optimized for low-powered devices.

Examples of popular lightweight Linux distributions include:

  • Lubuntu: A fast and lightweight Linux distribution based on Ubuntu and the LXQt desktop environment.
  • Puppy Linux: A small, lightweight Linux distribution designed to run from a USB drive or CD-ROM.
  • Arch Linux: A lightweight, flexible Linux distribution that lets you customize every aspect of your system.
  • Bodhi Linux: A minimalist Linux distribution based on Ubuntu and the Enlightenment desktop environment.
  • MX Linux: A user-friendly Linux distribution that combines stability, performance, and simplicity.

When choosing a Linux distribution for your low-powered device, look for one that has a small installation footprint, optimized performance, and a user-friendly interface.

Tips for Optimizing Linux for Low-Powered Devices

Once you’ve installed a lightweight Linux distribution on your low-powered device, there are several steps you can take to optimize its performance further.

  1. Reduce Memory Usage

Memory usage can be a significant bottleneck on low-powered devices. To reduce memory usage, you can try the following:

  • Use lightweight applications that use fewer system resources.
  • Close unused applications and tabs to free up memory.
  • Adjust the swappiness setting to reduce the amount of memory used by the swap file.
  • Use a lightweight desktop environment that uses fewer system resources.
  1. Disable Unnecessary Services and Daemons

Linux distributions come with many services and daemons enabled by default. Many of these services and daemons are not necessary for low-powered devices and can consume valuable system resources. To disable unnecessary services and daemons, you can use a tool like systemd-analyze to identify which services and daemons are consuming resources and disable them.

  1. Optimize Power Management Settings

Power management settings can have a significant impact on battery life on low-powered devices. To optimize power management settings, you can try the following:

  • Adjust the screen brightness to the lowest comfortable level.
  • Disable unused peripherals like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi when not in use.
  • Use a power-saving mode that automatically adjusts power settings based on system usage.
  • Use a battery monitoring tool to track power consumption and identify areas for improvement.
  1. Use Lightweight Desktop Environments

Desktop environments like GNOME or KDE can be resource-intensive and slow on low-powered devices. To improve performance, you can use lightweight desktop environments like LXDE, Xfce, or Enlightenment. Lightweight desktop environments use fewer system resources and are optimized for low-powered devices.

  1. Optimize the Kernel Configuration

The Linux kernel is the core of the operating system and can be optimized to improve performance on low-powered devices. To optimize the kernel configuration, you can try the following:

  • Disable unnecessary drivers that are not required for your device’s hardware.
  • Enable power-saving features like CPU frequency scaling and dynamic tick.
  • Use a kernel version that is optimized for low-powered devices, such as the Linux-ck kernel or the Liquorix kernel.

Optimizing Specific Applications for Low-Powered Devices

In addition to optimizing the Linux operating system, you can also optimize specific applications for low-powered devices. Here are some tips for optimizing popular applications:

  1. Browser Optimization

Web browsers can be resource-intensive, especially when running multiple tabs or extensions. To optimize your web browsing experience on a low-powered device, you can try the following:

  • Use a lightweight browser like Midori, Epiphany, or QupZilla.
  • Install browser extensions that block ads or scripts to reduce resource usage.
  • Use a browser extension like OneTab to consolidate tabs and reduce memory usage.
  • Use a browser extension like h264ify to force YouTube to use the H.264 video codec, which is less resource-intensive than the default VP9 codec.
  1. Video Playback Optimization

Playing videos can be resource-intensive on low-powered devices, especially if the video is high-quality or in a high-resolution format. To optimize video playback on a low-powered device, you can try the following:

  • Use a media player that is optimized for low-powered devices, like VLC or MPV.
  • Use video playback settings that reduce resource usage, like disabling hardware acceleration or reducing video quality.
  • Use a video player that supports the H.264 video codec, which is less resource-intensive than other codecs like VP9.
  1. General Application Optimization

Finally, you can optimize general applications for low-powered devices by doing the following:

  • Use lightweight alternatives to resource-intensive applications. For example, use GIMP for image editing instead of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Remove unnecessary features or components from applications to reduce their installation footprint and resource usage.
  • Use terminal-based applications where possible, as they tend to be more lightweight than graphical applications.


Optimizing Linux for low-powered devices can be challenging, but the benefits are well worth the effort. By choosing a lightweight Linux distribution, reducing memory usage, disabling unnecessary services and daemons, optimizing power management settings, using a lightweight desktop environment, and optimizing specific applications, you can significantly improve performance and extend the lifespan of your low-powered device.

Remember, every device is unique, and some of these tips may not work for your particular device. However, by experimenting with different configurations and settings, you can find the optimal setup for your low-powered device. With a little bit of effort and experimentation, you can breathe new life into an old or underpowered device and continue to use it for years to come.

Categories: BlogLinux

James R. Kinley - It Admin

James R. Kindly

My Name is James R. Kindly i am the founder and primary author of Storaclix, a website dedicated to providing valuable resources and insights on Linux administration, Oracle administration, and Storage. With over 20 years of experience as a Linux and Oracle database administrator, i have accumulated extensive knowledge and expertise in managing complex IT infrastructures and databases.

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