How to run Windows apps in Ubuntu

It’s important to note that these findings are dependent on who and how many people have tested, and that your mileage will vary. For example, the Office 2010 32-bit installer is currently listed as Bronze, while Word 2010 is listed as Garbage. However, we’ve had people within the PC Pro office comfortably using Word 2010 within Ubuntu.

It’s also entirely possible to find applications that will fail on your first attempt to install, but succeed on the second for no real reason

Meanwhile, you’ll find some games listed as Platinum, then struggle for hours to get them working in Ubuntu. It’s also entirely possible to find applications that will fail on your first attempt to install, but succeed on the second for no real reason. Overall, however, the WineHQ database is a fairly reliable guide, and worth consulting if you need to use a specific application.

Troubleshooting Wine

What can you do if Wine doesn’t work? Well, there are some useful tricks you might want to deploy. First, it’s possible to configure Wine to behave like a specific version of Windows, by going to Applications | Wine | Configure Wine, clicking the Add Application button to add a Windows application to the list, and then setting the Windows Version using the dropdown menu at the bottom of the screen.

In some cases, you can also use the Graphics settings tab of the Wine Configuration menu to either start the application within a virtual desktop or switch off Direct3D hardware support. Of course, doing so might make some applications, notably games, virtually unusable.

There are also Wine plugins, such as the incredibly useful Winetricks script, which install additional Windows libraries and ensure maximum compatibility. Some of these are integrated into the default Ubuntu Wine installation or the latest version downloadable from WineHQ – but don’t take anything for granted. You can see more detailed instructions here.

Steam in Ubuntu

If you’re planning to run games then give the PlayOnLinux application a try. This acts as a front-end for Wine and incorporates a range of Wine scripts and additional Windows libraries, all in aid of getting as many games as possible to run.

It also supports Valve’s Steam client, allowing you to persuade a number of games that you may have already purchased on a Windows PC to run within Ubuntu using Wine. Making heavier use of graphics and audio hardware, games can occasionally be challenging to get working, but the WineHQ apps database offers excellent support.

Most of all, remember that the WineHQ database contains a mass of information, and that Google is your friend. With so many Ubuntu users trying to get Windows applications to work, it’s likely that someone will have encountered the same difficulties as you and – hopefully – found a way to solve them.

Complete guide to Ubuntu:

How to install Ubuntu
Installing Ubuntu from a USB memory stick
Getting started with Ubuntu: the essentials
How to install software in Ubuntu
10 essential Ubuntu apps
How to run Windows apps in Ubuntu
The Ubuntu file system

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