How to install Windows programs in Linux using Wine

This somewhat brief tutorial will guide you in installing Wine, and then using it to install Windows applications. Though the steps and screenshots are specific to Ubuntu Linux, they will be very similar for most Linux/*nix distributions.


Think of Wine as a compatibility layer for running Windows programs. Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely free alternative implementation of the Windows API consisting of 100% non-Microsoft code. Wine is not a Windows emulator (hence the name, Wine Is Not an Emulator).

Before you get started, you may want to check and confirm that the Windows program you want to install is in fact supported by Wine. Visit the Wine Application Database for a list of all the programs known to work in Wine, and at what level (fully supported, needs some tweaking, etc). Some of the more common/popular programs that are known to work include: Diablo II, Rollercoaster Tycoon 2, World of Warcraft 2.0.x, Day of Defeat, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty 2, Prey (do you see a common theme here? Lots of games!). But don’t worry, it’s not just games that are supported.

How to Install and Use Wine

  1. If you have the Synaptic Package Manger installed, use it to install Wine. For help using the Synaptic Package Manger, please see this tutorial. If you don’t use Synaptic, there are up to date Wine packages available here for many operating systems.

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  3. After you’ve successfully installed Wine, launch it by selecting Wine File

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  5. And then the Wine File Browser will open.

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  7. Navigate to the Windows program or program installer, and double-click it. In the example below I’ll be installing Homesite+, the only HTML editor that I’ve ever loved – and it’s not available for OS X or Linux (natively).

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  9. The installation Wizard will launch, and the setup continues as it would in Windows.

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  11. Once the installation has completed, use the Wine File Browser to navigate to the program and double-click it. Hint: by default, most Windows programs install on a “C:” drive – use the Wine File Browser to locate your new “C:” drive (see screenshot below).

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  13. Ta-da! The Windows version of Homesite+ is now up and running – in Linux.

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13 thoughts on “How to install Windows programs in Linux using Wine”

  1. Instead of starting Wine File by running the “winefile” command in a terminal, the easiest way is simply RIGHT-clicking any .EXE file you have downloaded and then choose “Open with Wine Windows Program Loader”

  2. Thanks for the help.

    I’m running Ubuntu Jaunty. I’m getting Wine in my Applications list, but I don’t get Winefile. I have to open that in a terminal. Anyone know how to get Winefile in my Applications > Wine list? Thanks for the help!

  3. WOW! This is great! I use Linux on my laptop becuase it’s very very very old. And that pretty much all it will run. I tried to install Windows 7 on it but there’s only 256mb of RAM. Anyways… I’m going away next week and I need to use Microsoft office for work and all I have is Linux. Now I can run office And other software I need When I go.

    I’m a PC!

  4. Thank you very much for your most helpful guide to setting up Wine on an Ubuntu system. I don’t know how newbies like me could manage without the help of experts like you. I am most grateful, as I could not use the Windows program I could find to do what I wanted without your advice.

  5. Thanks for this. I never knew about Wine’s File Manager. It is very handy for a Linux noob like me. By the way, for those not on Ubuntu (I’m using Mepis) who didn’t get a Wine File Menu shortcut, you can start Wine File by running winefile in a terminal.

    I am installing Counter-strike Source: Source and Day of Defeat as we speak.

    Wine Rocks.

  6. Thank you! I don’t have to boot into Windows to play Prey anymore! Hmmm maybe now I can just delete my Windows partition….

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