5 of the best browsers for old, slow PCs

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
4 minute read
browsers for old PCs

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Google, Opera Software and Mozilla have dropped Windows XP and Vista support for Chrome, Opera and Firefox. As such, you can’t run the most recent versions of those browsers on antiquated laptops or desktops with those platforms.

Even if Chrome was still compatible with XP, that browser’s heavy RAM usage will stretch more outdated PCs’ system resources to the limit. Thus, Google Chrome is not an ideal browser for outmoded PCs.

There are, however, a number of more lightweight alternatives to Chrome that will not hog system resources. They are streamlined browsers that are more system resource efficient.

Most of those lightweight browsers also remain compatible with Windows XP and Vista. These are some of the browsers that are ideal for old, slow PCs.

Here are the best browsers to use on old computers

1. K-Meleon

K-Meleon has been available for more than a decade. This is a Mozilla browser that incorporates Firefox’s Gekco engine. The browser’s UI design is comparable to Firefox, and the software has extensive customization options for its toolbars, menus and hotkeys.

Although you can’t add Firefox extensions to K-Meleon, this software still has plenty of handy plug-ins.

K-Meleon is also a super quick browser that runs on Windows 95, XP, Vista and other platforms that predate Windows 7. The software has a recommended 256 RAM system requirement.

As such, it can run on plenty of antiquated desktops or laptops. K-Meleon doesn’t get updated that often, but Mozilla did update the software in 2015.


2. Midori

Midori’s developers have designed this software to be a streamlined alternative to more bloated browsers. While Midori packs less in than alternative browsers, it weighs in at 37 megabytes. In comparison, Firefox requires 200 MB hard drive storage. Thus, this is a decent browser for outmoded PCs.

Midori does still incorporate the latest web technologies. The browser supports HTML 5 media codecs and CSS 3.

Midori was also developed with a webkit rendering engine that ensures its in the same league as Chrome when it comes to browsing speed. The browser doesn’t have a huge repository of extensions, but does include several add-ons that further enhance the software.


3. Pale Moon

Pale Moon is a browser forked from Firefox’s source code. This is a stripped down version of Firefox that runs on Windows XP and Vista. Pale Moon requires just 256 MB of free RAM and it’s optimized for modern CPUs. So this browser is even more system resource efficient than Fox, and it will run fairly quick on low spec laptops and desktops.

Pale Moon has a very similar UI design to older Firefox 3 versions. Many of Firefox’s add-ons are compatible with Pale Moon. Furthermore, Pale Moon has its own exclusive add-ons. The browser also shares many of Firefox’s customization options for tabs, page content, etc.


4. Maxthon 5

Maxthon 5 is a highly rated browser that is growing in stature. Maxthon 5’s homepage boasts that the browser has a 670 million user base. Maxthon’s system requirements amount to a 1 Ghz CPU, 512 MB RAM and 64 megabytes of hard drive space.

The browser is also compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista as well as the latest platforms; so it will run smoothly on most desktops and laptops.

Maxthon 5 includes some tools and options you won’t find in the big four browsers (Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Edge 14 and Firefox). It includes a built-in add blocker that you can remove adds with, which also reduces page tab RAM allocation.

Maxthon 5 has extensive cloud synchronization and backup options so that users can seamlessly sync data across devices. In addition, the browser incorporates software shortcuts; and Maxthon uses can also capture snapshots with its built-in screenshot tool.


5. Firefox

The latest Firefox versions might not support Windows XP and Vista anymore. However, this is still the best browser for slightly outdated Windows 7 desktops or laptops with 4 GB RAM. Mozilla claims that Google Chrome hogs 1.77x more RAM than Fox.

Firefox is more resource efficient than Safari, Chrome and Edge, which ensures you can run more software alongside it.

Firefox also has loads of add-ons you can enhance the software with. Those add-ons include tab managers, ad blockers and other extensions that you can strip down website page content with, which will further reduce each tab’s RAM usage and boost browsing speed.

It’s undoubtedly one of the best browsers for add-ons, and Fox also has extensive options for customizing the UI layout, theme and navigation bar.

Those are five of the best browsers for laptops or desktops with less than 4 GB RAM and CPUs with lower clock speed specifications. These browsers are compatible with a wider range of Windows platforms than most software, and they won’t hog a huge percentage of system resources even on outdated desktops and laptops.

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