There are many great operating systems you can use on any of the best laptops or desktops, but there’s no doubt one of the most popular in the world is Windows. So, if you’re using an alternate operating system like Linux in a specific flavor like Ubuntu, or even Fedora, you might come across a moment when you might want to run a Windows app. It could be a classic Windows app that’s needed, something more modern, or even a Windows game. Or, it could be a specific Windows app that doesn’t have a Linux version.
The good news is that thanks to a third-party program known as Wine, you can indeed run classic Windows apps (.exe files) on your Linux install. Since Linux doesn’t have native support for Windows apps, Wine is a compatibility layer that’ll add it, but it doesn’t run all Windows apps. It will load up the Windows binary, and try to implement and translate the Windows API calls that Windows apps need for Linux, all without running actual Windows. A catalog of compatible apps is available online. All that said, here’s how you can get started with running Windows programs on Linux.
You’ll need sudor permissions, and access to the internet, to install Wine. After each command we mention, you’ll also have to press Enter on your keyboard.
How to run Windows programs on Linux with Wine on Ubuntu
- Open a terminal window with the Ctrl, Alt, and T keyboard shortcut.
- Check your CPU type with the command: lscpu.
- If you see x86, you have an x86 Linux, and if it says x86_64, you have Linux 64-bit. If you see 32-bit and 64 but under CPU op-mode, you can run both architectures.
- If you have a 64-bit system, enable the 32-bit architecture with the command: sudo dpkg –add-architecture i386
- Enter your password
- Enter the command: sudo mkdir -pm755 /etc/apt/keyrings sudo wget -O /etc/apt/keyrings/winehq-archive.key https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key
- Select your Ubuntu source and enter the corresponding command as seen below.
- We’re using sudo wget -NP /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/ubuntu/dists/lunar/winehq-lunar.sources
- Type the command: sudo apt update
- Type the command: sudo apt install –install-recommends winehq-stable
- Press Y and enter your password.
- Download the .exe File or Windows app you want to install.
- Once downloaded, right-click the file, and choose Open With. Then choose Wine Windows Program Loader and Open.
- Follow the setup steps on your screen.
The app will install just like it would on Windows, and you’ll be able to find and launch the app from your launcher.
How to run Windows programs on Linux with Wine on other Linux flavors
If you want to run programs on Linux with Wine on other Linux flavors, like Fedora or Debian, the steps should be pretty similar to what we’ve already gone through above. A few commands might be different. The folks at WinHQ have a great step-by-step guide on how you can install these Linux flavors. Due to the complexity of the code, you might want to check out the Wine on Fedora official guide, and Wine on Debian official guide for more
There are other options
There are lots of other ways to run Windows apps on Ubuntu. We just touched on the basic, and simplest way, which is Wine. Some other choices you might run across include PlayOnLinux. Those who are planning to go the extreme route and run enterprise apps might also want to try VMware Workstation Player, which is paid software.