Running Windows software

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Running Windows software is something that is sometimes unavoidable. Whether it's tax software, games, hurricane tracking tools, or simply an investment you've already made in tools like Photoshop or Microsoft Office, there are many reasons to want to run Win32 programs.

There are several ways you can do this.

  • Wine is a popular way to do so. Wine is a reimplementation of the parts of Windows that applications need. It's open source, and doesn't require a copy of Windows installed in order to run the programs. The downside is that not all applications work. See its home page for more details.
  • VMware, VirtualBox, Bochs, and QEMU emulate an actual computer, and you can install a legal copy of Windows into them in order to run your software "in a box".

Running an application with Wine can be frustrating, if the program you want encounters bugs or missing code in the emulated copy of the Windows DLLs. To make running common popular programs like Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and iTunes easy, CodeWeavers CrossOver can be used. This is a commercial derivative of Wine that is tuned for popular apps. At roughly $50 it's a cheap way to support the Wine project: the money you spend on it goes back to the community to fund development.

See also