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Linux is the most used operating system after Windows. Linux has surely evolved in all these years and there is a lot it can do now. From using Microsoft Office, watching Netflix without any hacks to playing more than 1000 games on steam, Linux gives you greater capability of a web based desktop software. But almost every Linux user must have come to a point when they need to run a Windows application but they aren’t able to. It could be rather frustrating but to help all the Linux users, we bring a list of ways by which you can easily run a Windows application on Linux with ease.
Wine is a way using which you can run Windows software on Linux but without the need of Windows. Let’s know about Wine in brief. Wine is an open source “Windows compatibility layer” that helps you run Windows programs directly on your Linux desktop. It is nothing but an implementation of the Windows API on Linux. Which means you can re-implement Windows from scratch and run only those Windows applications that you require without the need of having Windows on your desktop.
This one method doesn’t require a copy of Windows but only problem is that you don’t get to run every Windows application. If you are using Wine to play video games, then you may encounter issues like bugs or slow performance. But if you run any popular games that was released a couple of years ago then you may find that it runs well. Wine is popularly used to play games like World of Warcraft on Linux.
To run your favourite Windows application using Wine, all you need to do is install Wine and launch an installer.exe file using it. Double click on it to run the application. There is another alternative called PlayOnLinux, an interface which you can use to download and install Windows programs and games. Even the Netflix Desktop app lets you run Netflix on Linux using a patched version of Wine.
There are times when even Wine may crash or encounter bugs while installing Windows applications. But a virtual machine is able to run all these applications without any trouble. Virtual machines are rendered as the most convenient way to run all your Windows applications on Linux. And with the Pc’s becoming faster, virtual machines have become lighter in weight.
This method involves installing a copy of Windows in a virtual machine program like VMware Player, VirtualBox or Linux’s built in KVM(Kernel based Virtual Machine). It runs Windows in a window. This copy thinks that it is running on a real hardware but it is actually running on a virtual machine. So whichever application you wish to run, you can install it in the virtual machine and run it on your Linux desktop. Nowadays there are many virtual machine solutions that can break the Windows program running in the virtual machine out of that copy and make it function like normal Windows software.
This method is way better than Wine as it runs on an actual copy of Windows and you get bug-free and trouble-free access to Windows applications. If you wish to run applications like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office, Virtual Machine is the best option but for installing PC games, then Wine is a better option. Though the Virtual machine uses a copy of Windows, it takes more hardware overhead as the copy of Windows needs to run alongside your Linux operating system. It is recommended to use VirtualBox’s seamless mode or VMware’s Unity mode to run Windows applications on your PC.
When a big PC game is launched, you don’t get to run it on Linux. You will need to wait till it is able to run properly on Wine. Dual-booting is not a way to run a Windows software on Linux is it how Linux users install Windows software on their desktops. Instead of directly running it on Linux, what you can do is, you can reboot your PC, choose Windows and boot in the Microsoft’s operating system. Then this Windows software is run on its normal environment. Using the modern solid state drives, the reboot process has speed up.
This process suits a PC games the most. You can get a hand on the latest Windows PC based games without the need to wait till it runs on Wine. You will be running the software directly on the hardware so the performance will not be an issue. The best way to do this is installing Windows first if your PC doesn’t have the operating system. Then install the Linux distribution and let it install side by side. You can then reboot your PC, and select the operating system of your choice and be able to play any game you want.
If you are tired of trying Wine, you can head for CrossOver Linux. CrossOver is based on Wine. With CrossOver you get automated installation of Windows applications. It makes it easier to install and manage Windows software on Linux. You can run CrossOver on any PC which is not more than 5 years old and is supported on Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise, Debian and Ubuntu. To have CrossOver you need to pay $59.95 but now it also gives 15 day free trial on its latest version i.e. CrossOver 15.
To download CrossOver, you need download the proper version that is compatible with your Linux version and then open the download file. It will open the Package Installer, click on the “Install Package” button to complete the process. You can choose from the list of supported Windows software on the CrossOver interface.
You can also try running the applications using a remote access to a Windows desktop. You can run the software on a remote Windows desktop and use a remote desktop on your Linux PC to use them. There won’t be any issues in performance as you will be running on a real Windows desktop. There are many softwares to access remote Windows system, you can install rdesktop package if you don’t have remote access.
These are the possible ways using which you can run any given Windows application on your Linux system. But it totally depends on which application you are trying to run. For running a single application or a game then Wine is better. But if you want to run latest versions of Photoshop or Office then Virtual Machine is a better choice. For PC gamers, it is advised that they go with dual-booting.