How to install software with wine

Installing software with wine can sometimes be tricky. How do you install applications such as Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and more? And how do you install Windows apps on Linux? In this article we will walk through the installation of wine and a range of windows software.

You have a lot of software installed on your Windows machine, in Windows you can install, uninstall and update them by clicking a button in control panel. Wine allows you to do the same in Linux, the only difference is that Wine runs applications on top of Linux using compatibility layers. Before installing an application with Wine you have to keep track of some things.

How to install software with wine

Wine is a compatibility layer that allows you to run Windows applications on Linux, macOS, FreeBSD and Solaris operating systems. Wine can also be run on many other Unix-like operating systems. Wine provides a Windows API implementation that allows GNU/Linux and other POSIX based operating system users to run Windows applications.

Wine has been under development since 1993. It was originally named “Wine Is Not an Emulator” because it does not emulate a hardware architecture or operating system. Instead, Wine translates Windows API calls into POSIX calls on-the-fly, eliminating the need for emulation.

  1. Download the software you want to install with wine.
  2. Open a terminal window, and run the following command:

sudo apt-get install wine wine32 winetricks

  1. Navigate to your Downloads folder and double-click on the installer for your software application. For example, if you downloaded Skype, you would double-click on skype-installer.exe in your Downloads folder.
  2. If prompted, click Run when asked if you want to open or save this file; then click Next when asked whether you agree with the license agreement; then click Install when asked where to install Skype; and finally click Finish when asked if you want to start Skype for Windows after installation is complete.

Classic SysAdmin: How to Install and Use Wine to Run Windows Applications on Linux

This is a classic article written by Jack Wallen from the archives. For more great SysAdmin tips and techniques check out our Essentials of Linux System Administration course!

Back in the mid 90s and early 00s, Linux, being a fledgling operating system, suffered from a severe lack of useful applications. This issue was especially critical in the world of business ─ where Windows desktop applications could make or break productivity. To overcome this weakness, a compatibility layer called WINE was created. The name originally stood for Wine Is Not an Emulator (because everyone mistook the tool for a Windows emulator). The name is now simply Wine.

Effectively, what Wine did was to allow Windows applications to run on the Linux platform. It wasn’t perfect, and the supported apps were limited. If you wanted Notepad, Calculator, or Solitaire…you were good to go.

But then something interesting happened. Over time more and more applications were supported until Wine became a must-have tool for many users and businesses (and especially Linux gamers). To date there are thousands of fully supported applications that now run on Wine (check out the application database for a full list) and that list is ever growing. Granted most of the Wine work is focused on games, but you’ll still find a healthy list of productivity apps available.

You might think, because of the complexity of bringing such a tool to life, that Wine would be complicated to install and use. That assumption would be incorrect. In fact, the developers of Wine have gone out of their way to make the compatibility layer as user-friendly as possible. What exactly does that mean? To make this easier, let’s walk through the process of installing Wine and then installing and running a Windows application with the tool.

I will demonstrate the process on Elementary OS Freya and install the latest version of Wine.


If you are running an Ubuntu derivative, you’ll find Wine located in the Software Center. Chances are, however, that version is outdated. Because of that, we want to avoid installing the “out of the box” version offered. To do this, we must add the official Wine repository. This can be done one of two ways, via command line or GUI. Since our goal is running Windows applications, let’s use the GUI method.

Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Applications menu
  2. Type software
  3. Click Software & Updates
  4. Click on the Other Software tab
  5. Click Add
  6. Enter ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa in the APT line section (Figure 2)
  7. Click Add Source
  8. Enter your sudo password
  9. Click Authenticate
  10. Click Close
  11. When prompted, click Reload
  12. Open the Software Center
  13. Search for Wine
  14. Click the Wine entry and then click Install
  15. Allow the installation to complete.

That’s it. Wine is now ready to help you install and run Windows applications. Remember, however, that not every application will work. Most will, but if you’re looking to get your in-house, proprietary solution up and running, you might hit a few snags.

Installing and running an app

Let’s install a very popular programmers notepad—Notepad++. You’ll want to download the file from a location that doesn’t include third-party app install options (which can cause the application installation to fail). To be safe, download the Notepad++ installer from Filehippo. You will find .exe file for Notepad in your Downloads directory. Right-click that file and select Open in Wine Windows Program Loader (Figure 3).

Upon first run, the Wine configuration for ~/.wine will be updated. This can, depending upon the speed of your machine, take a bit of time. Allow this to finish and then the all-too-familiar Windows installation wizard will start up and walk you through the installation of Notepad++.

Click Next and walk through the installation process. When the second screen pops up (Figure 4), you will notice a rather un-Linux Folder path.

Linux doesn’t contain a C drive as does Windows. Is this wrong? No. If you look in the ~/.wine folder, you will notice a folder called drive_c. Within that folder lies three familiar sub-folders:

  • Program Files
  • users
  • windows.

As you might expect, this is your C drive. All of that is to say, leave the Folder path as-is during installation.

You will eventually come to the Choose Components section of the installation (Figure 5). Here you can select options for the installation. If your particular desktop environment allows desktop icons (and that is your preference for launching apps), you might want to select Create Shortcut on Desktop (to make the launching of the newly installed app easier—more on this in a moment).

The installation will complete and present you with the Finish screen. Leave the Run Notepad box checked and click Finish. Notepad++ will run (Figure 1).

What happens, if you didn’t add the app icon to your desktop, when you want to run the software again? This is one issue that can easily trip users up. Remember that Program Files sub-directory? If you venture into that folder, you’ll see a folder for Notepad++ which contains the notepad++.exe file. Guess what? Right-click that file, select Open in Wine Windows Program Loader, and Notepad++ will run.

Notepad++ is a simple example of how Wine works. When you dive into more complicated applications, your results may vary. The best thing to do is to go back to the Wine application database, locate the app you want to install, click on it, and check the current app status. You will find every app lists the version of Wine tested, if it installs, if it runs, and gives it a rating. There are:

  • Platinum: Applications which run flawlessly out of the box.
  • Gold: Applications which run with some modifications necessary.
  • Silver: Applications which run with minor issues that do not affect usage.

You will also find some apps listed as Garbage, which means they won’t install and/or run.

If you have a Windows app that simply doesn’t have a Linux equivalent, never fear ─ Wine is here to assist you. Even though not every Windows app will run under Wine, the collection of apps that do is seriously impressive. And considering most everything we do nowadays is handled within a web browser, with a little help from Wine, you should be covered from every angle.

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