How to run a Windows app on Linux with Wine

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Wine is not an emulator. 

That’s actually what Wine stands for. It’s a bit confusing, but suffice it to say that Wine allows you to run Windows apps on Linux. 

If you’re curious as to what apps can be run with Wine, here’s a searchable database that lists the apps, from games to productivity tools, and everything in between.

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

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Let me show 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. In order to install Wine, you’ll need a running Linux distribution and a user with sudo privileges. That’s it. Let’s get to work.

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

Install both Wine and Winetricks (a tool to make configuring Wine easier) with the command:

sudo apt-get install wine winetricks -y

If you’re using an RHEL or Fedora-based distribution, you would first have 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 app, which will automatically create the necessary directories for you with the command below. 

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In the resulting window, you’ll want to click Select the default wineprefix and click OK. In the next window, select Run winecfg and click OK. You can then configure the version of Windows you want Wine to mimic by selecting the option from the Windows Version drop-down and clicking OK.

The Winetricks application on Ubuntu Linux.

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

Image: Jack Wallen

Winetricks allows you to also take care of a number of other options, such as installing DLLs, fonts, and more. But at this point, you can close out that window and prepare to install your first Windows app.

Installing a Windows app with Wine

I’m going to show you how to install the Notepad++ Windows app with the help of Wine. Here’s all you have to do:

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

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

The Notepad++ installation wizard running on Ubuntu Linux.

Installing a Windows app on Linux with Wine is simple.

Image: Jack Wallen

Once the installation completes, you’ll find the Notepad++ launcher in your desktop menu.

Installing a Windows app with Winetricks

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

This method will automatically download and run the necessary installer file and then open the install wizard to complete the process.

Installing a Windows app from within Winetricks.

Winetricks allows you to easily install a number of applications.

Image: Jack Wallen

Further configuration might be needed

Notepadd++ is a fairly simple app to install with Wine. You might find there are some apps (especially games) that require further configuration. Should that occur, you’ll want to run the Winetricks app again to take care of those configurations. 

How much work needs to be done will depend on the app you want to install. If you receive errors when trying to install a Windows app via Wine, you might have to do a bit of research to figure out what configurations are necessary for that particular app.

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

Enjoy those Windows apps running on Linux.

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