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I've run the OS from a USB stick on a laptop I have and it was very sluggish.

The machine has a Core2Duo processor and 1GB of RAM. I've read in other posts here that the processor is up to the job, but that additional RAM would be very beneficial.

Is the fact that I was running the OS from the USB stick going too significantly slow things down? Will it be quicker when properly installed on the internal hard disk?

Is it realistic to expect a machine of this spec to deliver a smooth user experience with this OS? I could ramp up the RAM to 4GB if that's going to help, or should I stick with Lubuntu, which does work well on this machine, and look to run ElementaryOS on a better specified machine?

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You can run smoothly elementary OS with a Core2Duo with 4 GB of RAM either from an USB stick or from your hard drive. Actually, what makes the real difference is the amount of RAM (so that the OS does not use a lot of swap).

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For what it's worth, a decent USB flash drive is probably faster than an old spinning hard drive. Tom's Hardware did a comparison of Flash drives and spinning hard drives several years ago. Modern flash drives probably perform even better than is shown in this article.

For what it's worth, here are the recommended system specifications:

  • Intel i3 or comparable dual-core 64-bit processor
  • 1 GB of system memory (RAM)
  • 15 GB of disk space
  • Internet access

Things like jerky animations would probably be helped by a faster processor. Switching between apps would probably be helped by more RAM.

All that said, a Core 2 Duo should be fine as long as you have some extra RAM. My last computer was running macOS (which is probably heavier than elementary) with a Core 2 Duo processor. Upgrading from 2GB of RAM to 4GB made a huge difference.

tl;dr: I agree with @lemonslice. :)

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