How to run a Windows app on Linux with Wine

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Wine is not an emulator.

That is actually what the wine represents. It’s a bit confusing, but suffice it to say that Wine allows you to run Windows applications on Linux.

If you’re curious about what apps can run with Wine, here’s a searchable database listing apps from games to productivity tools and everything in between.

But how do those Windows applications actually run on Linux with Wine?

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Let me teach you.

How to run a Windows app on Linux with Wine


I’ll demonstrate the process on Ubuntu Desktop, but Wine can be installed on most Linux distributions. To install Wine, you will need a running Linux distribution and a user with sudo privileges. That is. Let’s get to work.

The first thing you need to do is log into your Linux desktop and open a terminal window.

Install Wine and Winetricks (a tool to make it easy to set up Wine) with the command:

sudo apt-get install wine winetricks -y

If you are using a RHEL or Fedora based distribution, you will first need to add the necessary repository with the command:

sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo

You can then install Wine with the command:

sudo dnf install winehq-stable -y

Run the Winetricks application, which will automatically create the necessary directories with the following command.

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In the resulting window, you’ll want to click Select Default Wine Prefix and click OK. In the next window, select Run winecfg and click OK. You can then set the version of Windows that you want Wine to imitate by selecting the option from the Windows Version drop-down menu and clicking OK.

The Winetricks app on Ubuntu Linux.

Winetricks makes it easy to configure a number of Wine options.

Image: Jack Wallen

Winetricks lets you take care of a number of other options as well, like installing DLLs, fonts, and more. But at this point, you can close that window and get ready to install your first Windows app.

Install a Windows app with Wine

I will show you how to install Notepad++ Windows application with the help of Wine. This is all you have to do:

First, download the Windows installer for the app and save it to your Downloads directory. Then, open your terminal window and change to the Downloads directory with the command cd ~/Downloads.

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Run the installer with the command came npp.*.exe. Finally, the Windows setup wizard will open where you can click your way to success.

The Notepad++ installation wizard running on Ubuntu Linux.

Installing a Windows application on Linux with Wine is simple.

Image: Jack Wallen

Once the installation is complete, you will find the Notepad++ launcher in your desktop menu.

Install a Windows app with Winetricks

Another neat trick up Wine’s sleeve is the ability to install a Windows application directly from Winetricks. If you run the Winetricks app (which can now be launched from your desktop menu) and select Install an app, you’ll see a list of apps that can be installed directly from the GUI.

This method will automatically download and run the necessary setup file and then launch the setup wizard to complete the process.

Install a Windows application from Winetricks.

Winetricks allows you to easily install a number of applications.

Image: Jack Wallen

Additional configuration may be required

Notepadd++ is a fairly easy application to install with Wine. You may find some applications (especially games) that require additional configuration. If that happens, you’ll want to run the Winetricks app again to take care of those settings.

The amount of work that needs to be done will depend on the application you want to install. If you’re getting errors when trying to install a Windows app through Wine, you may need to do some digging to find out what settings are required for that particular app.

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Even with that possibility, installing compatible Windows applications on Linux with Wine is considerably easier than you might think.

Enjoy those Windows apps running on Linux.