The biggest difficulty most Windows users face when they switch to a Linux distribution is the inability to run their favorite Windows software, especially games. Gaming on Linux has improved, but to play Windows-only games on Linux, you’ll need to use Wine.
Wine is designed to help bridge the gap between Windows and Linux software, making Windows-only games and software compatible without massive performance penalties. Here’s how to install Wine on Linux.
As one of the most well-known Linux packages, installing Wine should be pretty straightforward on the most popular Linux distributions. You can download, compile and install the appropriate packages from the Wine website, or use the packages supplied as part of your Linux distribution.
However, you should check first whether you’re running on a 64-bit version of Linux. To do that, open your terminal and type
This should display some technical information about your PC.
Under the “CPU op-modes” section, if you only see 32-bit, install the 32-bit version of Wine. Otherwise, install the 64-bit version.
To install the 32-bit version of Wine on Ubuntu and Debian-based operating systems, type:
sudo apt install wine32
Otherwise, to install the 64-bit version, type:
sudo apt install wine64
If Wine is already installed on your Linux PC, and you’re unsure which version you have installed, open a terminal and type:
This will display the version of Wine you have installed as well as the version number.
In many cases, you won’t need to configure Wine itself after it’s installed, but you will need to generate Wine’s configuration before you can use it.
By running the GUI Wine configuration tool, you’ll generate a fresh configuration file for Wine which you can then configure to your own requirements later.
To run it, open your terminal window and type:
It may take a few moments for your initial Wine configuration file to be generated. Once it is, the configuration tool will open. If you don’t plan on changing Wine’s configuration, it’s safe to close it at this point by clicking “OK.”
Using the Wine application database, you can find relevant settings for any Windows games or software you’re looking to run. You can then modify your settings using the Wine configuration tool to meet these requirements.
Installing Windows Games Using Wine
To run Windows games or software, you’ll need to download the files for them as you would on Windows. Some may have specific installation instructions, so be sure to check for an entry in the Wine application database first.
Many Windows installers come as EXE files. Linux doesn’t generally support EXE files, but using Wine, you can use them.
To run a Windows installer on Linux, download and place the EXE file in a suitable location. Open a terminal window and type:
This will run the installer file where you can follow the installation process in the same way you would on Windows.
If you ever need to uninstall any Windows software, open the terminal and type:
This brings up a Windows-style control panel where you can find examples of your existing software and remove them. You can also remove the files manually.
Running Windows Games and Software Using Wine
Typically, Windows files are installed to the “C” drive. As this doesn’t exist on Linux, Wine creates a folder (usually /home/your-username/.wine/drive_c) to act as the “C” drive for your Windows software.
This is where you’ll need to locate any installed software or games. To do that, search through and find the EXE file for the software you’re looking to run.
This is probably going to be found in the “Program Files” or “Program Files (x86” folders. Once you’ve located your software, you can run it the same way you ran the installer.
To do that, open your terminal window and type:
Using Wine, your Windows software or game should run on your Linux desktop in much the same way as it would natively on Windows.
It isn’t a perfect solution, so if you run into difficulties, check the Wine application database listing for your game or software to find further advice. Your software or game may have specific instructions to consider before you run it.
Running Windows Games and Software on Linux
With Wine, you don’t need to give up using Windows software and playing Windows-only games. As it doesn’t emulate a Windows PC, you can dedicate the full power of your system resources to your Linux distro, too.
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