IntroductionOverview / AboutPurpose of this document and intended audience
This document, called the Wine User Guide, is both an easy
installation guide and an extensive reference guide. This guide
is for both the new Wine user and the experienced Wine user,
offering full step-by-step installation and configuration
instructions, as well as featuring extensive reference material
by documenting all configuration features and support areas.
Further questions and comments
If, after examining this guide,
the FAQ, and
other relevant documentation there is still something you
cannot figure out, we would love to hear from you.
lists section contains several mailing lists and an
IRC channel, all of which are great places to seek help and
offer suggestions. If you are particularly savvy, and
believe that something can be explained better, you can file
a bug report
a patch on Wine documentation itself.
Content overview / Steps to take
In order to be able to use Wine, you must first have a working
installation. This guide will help you to move your system
from an empty, Wineless void to one boasting a fresh, up to
date Wine install. The first step, Getting Wine, illustrates the
various methods of getting Wine's files onto your computer.
The second step, Configuring
Wine, shows how to customize a Wine installation depending
on your individual needs. The final step, Running Wine, covers the specific
steps you can take to get a particular application to run
better under Wine, and provides useful links in case you need
The process of installing and running Wine can be summarised as
Get a distribution as indicated in Getting Wine and see
Downloads page. For the casual or new user the simplest
is to get a packaged version for your distribution.
Optionally configure Wine using the winecfg command.
Wine should work without any additional configuration options.
To test your installation run Wine notepad clone
using the wine notepad command.
Check the Wine AppDB
for specific instructions or steps required to install or run
Run Wine using the wine
The first command you will run will be to install an application.
Typically something like wine /media/cdrom/setup.exe
or the equivalent path might be used
to install an application from CD.
What is Wine?Windows and Linux
Different software programs are designed for different
operating systems, and most won't work on systems that they
weren't designed for. Windows programs, for example, won't run
in Linux because they contain instructions that the system can't
understand until they're translated by the Windows environment.
Linux programs, likewise, won't run under the Windows operating
system because Windows is unable to interpret all of their
This situation presents a fundamental problem for anyone who
wants to run software for both Windows and Linux. A common
solution to this problem is to install both operating systems on
the same computer, known as dual booting. When a Windows
program is needed, the user boots the machine into Windows to
run it; when a Linux program is then needed, the user then
reboots the machine into Linux. This option presents great
difficulty: not only must the user endure the frustration of
frequent rebooting, but programs for both platforms can't be
run simultaneously. Having Windows on a system also creates
an added burden: the software is expensive, requires a separate
disk partition, and is unable to read most filesystem formats,
making the sharing of data between operating systems difficult.
What is Wine, and how can it help me?
Wine makes it possible to run Windows programs alongside any
Unix-like operating system, particularly Linux. At its heart,
Wine is an implementation of the Windows Application
Programing Interface (API) library, acting as a bridge between
the Windows program and Linux. Think of Wine as a compatibility
layer, when a Windows program tries to perform a function that
Linux doesn't normally understand, Wine will translate that
program's instruction into one supported by the system. For
example, if a program asks the system to create a Windows
pushbutton or text-edit field, Wine will convert that
instruction into its Linux equivalent in the form of a command
to the window manager using the standard X11 protocol.
If you have access to the Windows program source code, Wine
can also be used to recompile a program into a format that Linux
can understand more easily. Wine is still needed to launch the
program in its recompiled form, however there are many advantages
to compiling a Windows program natively within Linux. For more
information, see the Winelib User Guide.
Throughout the course of its development, Wine has continually
grown in the features it carries and the programs it can run.
A partial list of these features follows:
Support for running Win64,
Win32 (Win 95/98, NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/2012/10),
Win16 (Win 3.1) and DOS programs
Optional use of external vendor DLL files (such as those
included with Windows)
X11-based graphics display, allowing remote display to any
X terminal, as well as a text mode console
Desktop-in-a-box or mixable windows
DirectX support for games
Good support for various sound drivers including OSS and ALSA
Support for alternative input devices such as graphics tablets.
Printing: PostScript interface driver (psdrv) to standard
Unix PostScript print services
Modem, serial device support
Winsock TCP/IP networking support
ASPI interface (SCSI) support for scanners, CD writers,
and other devices
Advanced Unicode and foreign language support
Full-featured Wine debugger and configurable trace
logging messages for easier troubleshooting
Versions of WineWine from WineHQ
Wine is an open source project, and there are accordingly
many different versions of Wine for you to choose from. The
standard version of Wine comes in intermittent releases
(roughly twice a month), and can be downloaded over the
Internet in both prepackaged binary form and ready to compile
source code form. Alternatively, you can install a development
version of Wine by using the latest available source code from
the Git repository. See the next chapter, Getting Wine, for further details.
Other Versions of Wine
There are a number of programs that are derived from the
standard Wine codebase in some way or another. Some of these
are commercial products from companies that actively contribute
to the Wine project.
These products try to stand out or distinguish themselves
from the standard version of Wine by offering greater
compatibility, easier configuration, and commercial support.
If you require such things, it is a good idea to consider
purchasing these products.
Various Wine offeringsProductDescriptionDistribution FormCodeWeavers CrossOver Office
CrossOver Office allows you to install your favorite
Windows productivity applications in Linux, without
needing a Microsoft Operating System license. CrossOver
includes an easy to use, single click interface, which
makes installing a Windows application simple and fast.
Commercial; 30-day fully-functional demo available.
Alternatives to Wine you might want to consider
There are many ways to run software other than through Wine. If
you are considering using Wine to run an application you might
want to think about the viability of these approaches if you
Instead of running a particular Windows application with Wine,
one frequently viable alternative is to simply run a different
application. Many Windows applications, particularly more
commonly used ones such as media players, instant messengers,
and filesharing programs have very good open source equivalents.
Furthermore, a sizable number of Windows programs have been
ported to Linux directly, eliminating the need for Wine (or
Windows) entirely. These alternatives should be found through
your system package management facilities.
Another Operating System
Probably the most obvious method of getting a Windows
application to run is to simply run it on Windows. However,
security, license cost, backward-compatibility, and machine
efficiency issues can make this a difficult proposition, which
is why Wine is so useful in the first place.
Another alternative is to use ReactOS, which is a fully
open source alternative to Windows. ReactOS shares code
heavily with the Wine project, but rather than running Windows
applications on top of Linux they are instead run on top of the
ReactOS kernel. ReactOS also offers compatibility with Windows
driver files, allowing the use of hardware without functional
Rather than installing an entirely new operating system on your
machine, you can instead run a virtual machine at the software
level and install a different operating system on it. Thus, you
could run a Linux system and at the same time run Windows along
with your application in a virtual machine simultaneously on the
same hardware. Virtual machines allow you to install and run
not only different versions of Windows on the same hardware, but
also other operating systems, including ReactOS.
There are several different virtual machine offerings out there,
and some are also able to emulate x86 hardware on different
platforms. The open source Bochs,
QEMU can run
both Windows and ReactOS virtually. Other, commercial virtual
machine offerings include VMware and Microsoft's
There are significant drawbacks to using virtual machines,
however. Unlike Wine, such programs are
emulators, so there is an inevitable speed decrease which can
be quite substantial. Furthermore, running an application
inside a virtual machine prevents fully integrating the
application within the current environment. You won't, for
example, be able to have windows system tray icons or program
shortcuts sitting alongside your desktop Linux ones, since
instead the Windows applications must reside completely within
the virtual machine.