• Home
  • |
  • Blog
  • |
  • How To Run Windows Apps On Ubuntu Linux?
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. Check the Ubuntu release version on the command line

    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-release

    Check the Linux version

  2. Install wine on command line

    Let’s start the process by installing the Wine on Ubuntu Linux. The command to install Wine on Ubuntu:

    $ sudo apt install wine

    Install Wine on Ubuntu

  3. Wine installation is in progress…

    Wine installation in progress

    Wine installation in progress

  4. Wine installation completed

    Wine installation completeed.

    Wine installation complete

  5. install 32-bit architecture package of wine

    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 repository on Ubuntu

    Update the repository:
    $ sudo apt update

    Update the repository on Ubuntu Linux

  7. Install wine32

    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. Check the wine installation

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

    $ wine

    Confirm 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.

    $ winecfg

    Configure 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.ex

    Download Windows installer of Notepad++ on Linux

  11. Installation of notepad++.exe

    Use the wine command to run the Notepad++ exe file.

    $ wine npp.8.0.Installer.x64.exe

    The installer will launch like a Windows installer.

    Install Notepad++ on Ubuntu

  12. Begin the installation of notepad++

    Just install the app like a windows app. Click Next.

    Install Windows installer on Linux

  13. Browse the installation directory

    Browse the location and click Next like in Windows installation.

    Choose installation path

  14. Create the Desktop icon

    Check on ‘Create a desktop icon’.

    Install Windows app on Ubuntu Linux

  15. Finish the installation of Notepad++

    Finish Installation.

    Finish Installation

  16. Run Notepad++ application on Ubuntu Linux as in Windows

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

    Run Windows Notepad app on Ubuntu Linux

  17. See the Notepad++ inside the menu apps

    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-clicking until you configure Wine as the default Windows program loader. You can do this by creating the Wine program’s symbolic link under the application directory.

    $ sudo ln -s /usr/share/doc/wine/examples//wine.desktop /usr/share/applications

    Execute the Windows installers on Linux

  19. Create symbolic link of the application under the application directory

    Creating Wine program's symbolic link under the application directory

  20. Add application to the default program’s list

    Right-click on the file. Select Properties. Go to the ‘Open With’ tab. You will find the ‘Wine Windows Program Loader’ at the end of 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. Run application as the default program

    Now, you can launch any Windows installer files by double click or right-clicking 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 that can be used to install additional Windows applications, games, DLL libraries, fonts, Windows components, Visual C++, Dotnet framework, and many more things. Use this command to install ‘Winetricks’ on Ubuntu Linux.

    $ sudo apt install winetricks

    Install 32 bit architecture to run 32 bit Windows apps on Ubuntu Linux

  23. Run Winetricks in GUI mode

    You can run Winetricks in GUI mode to install applications. Use this command to run Winetricks in GUI mode:

    $ winetricks

    You can install any application, game, Windows components, and many more in GUI mode. The installation procedure is quite simple. Follow the instructions.

    Winetricks GUI

  24. List of applications available on Winetricks

    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:

    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

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  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.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Learn Something New with Free Email subscription

Email is also one of the ways to be in touch with us. Our free subscription plan offers you to receive post updates straight to your inbox.