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Run Windows Apps on Ubuntu Linux

There is no single operating system that can satisfy all the needs. All of them have their own pros and cons. Windows is most loved by gamers, whereas Linux is perfect for running services. Well, on the other hand, Windows attracts more cyberattacks than Linux because of its flaws. Linux is more stable than Windows. Despite that, Windows has a large user base and a large set of applications than Linux. Neither is perfect for everything. It is a debatable topic. Let’s not get into it now. It’s time to combine both the platform and make them work together to reap the maximum out of it. Yes, there are ways to run Windows apps on Linux. We have decided to help our readers to run Windows apps on Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions in the Linux world.

In this post, we have chosen Ubuntu Linux to show the step-by-step procedure to run Windows apps on Linux. but, of course, you can try this out on other Debian-based distributions as well.

Why Do Users Want To Run Windows Apps On Ubuntu (Linux)?

There could be many reasons to run Windows apps on Linux. However, the most common reasons are:

  1. Some programs and games have been developed only for the Windows platform. This may stop users to migrate Linux, or, in other words, Linux users can’t enjoy those apps and games on the Linux platform.
  2. This opportunity will give a chance for Windows users to migrate Linux as they can run their favorite Windows programs on the Linux of their choice.
  3. Linux is more stable and robust, but Windows has a large set of programs. This will give more flexibility for users to run both Windows and Linux apps on a single platform.

What Do You Need To Run Windows Apps On Ubuntu (Linux)?

Just you need a Ubuntu running system with WINE on your Ubuntu. Well, you can use this method on other Linux distributions like Fedora, Debian, Linux Mint,  and macOS.

What Is Wine?

Wine (originally an acronym for “Wine Is Not an Emulator”) is a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as Linux, macOS, & BSD. Instead of simulating internal Windows logic like a virtual machine or emulator, Wine translates Windows API calls into POSIX calls on the fly, eliminating the performance and memory penalties of other methods and allowing you to cleanly integrate Windows applications into your desktop.

How To Run Windows Apps On Ubuntu Linux?

The procedure to run Windows apps on Ubuntu Linux is quite simple. We have segregated this procedure into six sub sections. Let’s see all these sections in practical.

  1. Install Wine on Ubuntu Linux.
  2. Configure Wine on Ubuntu Linux.
  3. Install Windows applications on Ubuntu Linux.
  4. Set up Wine as the default program to load Windows applications.
  5. Install Winetricks.
  6. Use Winetricks to install Windows programs.

How to Run Windows Apps on Ubuntu Linux?

  1. How to install Wine on Ubuntu Linux?

    Let’s start this by checking the version of Ubuntu we have, We are running Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS on our machine. The command to check the Linux version:
    $ cat /etc/os-releaseCheck the Linux version

  2. Let’s start the process by installing the Wine on Ubuntu Linux. The command to install Wine on Ubuntu:
    $ sudo apt install wineInstall Wine on Ubuntu

  3. Wine installation in progressWine installation in progress

  4. Wine installation completeWine installation complete

  5. If your system architecture is 64 bit. You can’t run 32 bit Windows programs. However, you can install 32-bit programs as well. For that, you should install 32-bit architecture to run 32-bit programs.

    Install 32-bit architcture:
    $ sudo dpkg –add-architecture i386

    Download and add the repository key:
    $ wget -nc https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key

    Add the repository:
    $ sudo add-apt-repository ‘deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/ focal main’Install 32 bit architecture to run 32 bit Windows apps on Ubuntu Linux

  6. Update the repository:
    $ sudo apt updateUpdate the repository on Ubuntu Linux

  7. Install Wine32 to run 32 bit Windows packages:
    $ sudo apt install wine32
    In our case, it’s already installed on our machine.Install 32 bit architecture to run 32 bit Windows apps on Ubuntu Linux

  8. Confirm the Wine installation on Ubuntu Linux:
    Issue the command to confirm the wine installation.
    $ wineConfirm the Wine installation on Ubuntu Linux

  9. How to configure Wine?

    Issue the ‘winecfg’ command to open the configuration window of Wine. Many directories and files will create when you initiate Wine configuration for the first time. You can configure Windows Libraries, Graphics, Drivers, Audio, and Windows version environment.
    $ winecfgConfigure Wine on Linux

  10. How to install Windows applications on Ubuntu Linux?

    We are going to download and install the Notepad++ exe on Ubuntu Linux for demonstration.
    Download Notepad++
    $ wget https://github.com/notepad-plus-plus/notepad-plus-plus/releases/download/v8/npp.8.0.Installer.x64.exDownload Windows installer of Notepad++ on Linux

  11. Use wine command to run the Notepad++ exe file.
    $ wine npp.8.0.Installer.x64.exe
    Installer will launch like Windows installer.Install Notepad++ on Ubuntu

  12. Just install the app like a windows app. Click Next.Install Windows installer on Linux

  13. Browse the location and click Next like in Windows installation.Choose installation path

  14. Check on ‘Create a desktop icon’.Install Windows app on Ubuntu Linux

  15. Finish Installation.Finish Installation

  16. You can run Notepad++ application on Ubuntu Linux as like in Windows. You can notice Notepad++ icon has appeared on the Ubuntu Desktop. Run Windows Notepad app on Ubuntu Linux

  17. You can see the Notepad++ inside the menu apps. You can run the app from the Ubuntu Apps either.Run the app from the Ubuntu Apps

  18. How to set up Wine as the default program to load Windows applications?

    You can’t execute the Windows installers by double click until you configure Wine as default Windows program loader. You can do this by creating Wine program’s symbolic link under the application directory.
    $ sudo ln -s /usr/share/doc/wine/examples//wine.desktop /usr/share/applicationsExecute the Windows installers on Linux

  19. Creating Wine program's symbolic link under the application directory

  20. Right click on the file. Select Properties. Go to the ‘Open With‘ tab. You will find the ‘Wine Windows Program Loader‘ at the end in the list. Select the Wine program loader then click on ‘set as default‘.Set up Wine as the default program to load Windows applications

  21. Now, you can launch any Windows installer files by double click or right click and selecting ‘Open with Wine Windows Program Loader‘.Launch any Windows programs with Wine

  22. How to install Winetricks?

    Winetricks is an on top application which can be used to install additional Windows applications, games, DLL libraries, font’s, Windows components, Visual C++, Dotnet framework and many more things. Use this command to install ‘Winetricks’ on Ubuntu Linux.
    $ sudo apt install winetricksInstall 32 bit architecture to run 32 bit Windows apps on Ubuntu Linux

  23. You can run Winetricks in GUI mode to install applications. Use this command to run Winetricks in GUI mode:
    $ winetricks
    You can install many application, games, Windows components, and many more in GUI mode. Installation procedure is quite simple. Follow the instructions.Winetricks GUI

  24. List of applications available on Winetricks:List of applications available on Winetricks

  25. List of games available on Winetricks:List of games available on Winetricks

Overview of Wine Windows environment in Linux:

Wine creates the Windows environment inside .wine directory under the user’s home directory. The .wine directory will be hidden by default. Unhide the directory and explore the file system. You will find the complete Windows C drive inside the .wine directory. You will also get the user’s directories, Download folder, Documents folder, System32, Program Files, including regedit option to create, edit, and delete the Windows registries. We urge you to explore the Windows file system inside the Wine.

Wine Windows environment in Linux

That’s all about Wine. This is how you can install and run Windows apps on Ubuntu Linux.
We tried to cover most of the information which need for beginners to run Windows apps on Ubuntu Linux.  Please share this post with your contacts and help share the valuable information.

About the author

Arun KL

To know more about me. Follow me on LinkedIn Hi All, I am Arun KL, an IT Security Professional. Founder of “thesecmaster.com”. Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Writer, Editor, Author at TheSecMaster. To know more about me. Follow me on LinkedIn

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  1. Hi Arun, great article thanks! I’m still not sure if Wine can run any Windows program. I want to make the shift to Linux but need to know I can run anything with Wine. Thanks!

    1. Wine is basically a program that works like a translator between Linux and Windows system calls. The team is consistently working on developing a translator for most of the Windows applications. I recommend you to install the required Windows libraries and frameworks using Winetricks if you see problems in running your application. Or, there is another application ‘playonlinux’ which runs different versions of Wine (in the background) to support a wide range of Windows applications. You can try out that option either.

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