How to install EXE files on Ubuntu

The major problem new Linux users face is ‘how do I install XYZ.exe here?’, ‘Why can’t I run exe files?’. The question is phrased in many different ways, but the essence is always the same – how to install Windows applications on Linux machines? First, Linux machines do not have a fixed extension for any executable file. We have permissions. Each file has 3 permissions – read, write and execute. All files marked as executable files can be executed provided they have a certain logical structure.

OKay, I admit I went a bit too far here. We will concentrate on installing Windows applications on Linux in this tutorial. You will need following things

  • A computer with Ubuntu Linux installed (Any Linux distribution would be fine, but this tutorial is based on Ubuntu 10.10).
  • Administrative (root) access.
  • Internet access.
  • Moderate to Lower-High patience :)

Now, we will first be installing the application called Wine. Wine stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator. Think of it as an open source implementation of the Microsoft API (Application Program Interface).

Unless the program you wish to install is a peculiar one, you probably will not face problems with Wine, however, it’s still best to check with the Wine database at and check the status just in case.

Installing Wine

Once you have satisfied yourself we can move on to installation of Wine on Ubuntu. Open the Software Sources menu by going to System > Administration > Software Sources. Then select the Third Party Software tab and click Add.

Installing Wine on Ubuntu

Installing Wine on Ubuntu

Click on Add Source, refresh the package list and then head over to Applications ? Add/Remove and search for Wine and install it. Alternatively, you can also do this from the command line by

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-wine/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wine

Whichever method you opt for, install Wine because that’s what we are here to do.

Configuring Wine

Before using Wine, it is necessary to create the pseudo C:\ drive where your Windows applications will be installed. Enter Wine configuration mode by issuing following command on your machine,


You can also select the Configure Wine option in the Applications ? Wine menu. This will create the .wine directory in your home directory. This is used to store all the configurations and the pseudo C drive. It also contains a bunch of other things including but not limited to the registry structure like that in Windows, configurations settings like the Windows version to be emulated, DLL overrides and specific memory related settings. We don’t need to go into the details of those at this moment.

Installing Applications

To install Windows applications with Wine, follow the instructions below,

  1. Download the Windows application you wish to install and place it in a convenient directory.
  2. Open the terminal on your system.
  3. Change to the directory where the application installer is located.
  4. Issue the command wine followed by the name of the application to install it.


wine someApplication.exe

Remember to give the full name of the application along with the extension.

Running the Wine applications

Most application installed via Wine will end up in a special Wine menu in your main menu and you can directly launch those applications from there.

Uninstalling the applications

To uninstall the applications, open up a terminal and type “uninstaller” – this will open up a program which lets you uninstall applications from Wine. Running uninstall programs directly via Wine should also work normally. Alternatively, you could also simply delete the folder of the application but it leaves traces of that application behind in the registry and other configuration files.

That’s it for now folks. We will take a look at Wine configuration in detail in our future posts.

37 thoughts on “How to install EXE files on Ubuntu

  1. Sir, the new Linux 10.04 refuses to allow the installation of almost all .exe files. The following error comes up: The file ‘/home/jeffrey/Downloads/unconfirmed’ is not marked as executable. If this was downloaded or copied form an untrusted source, it may be dangerous to run. For more details, read about the executable bit. I have WINE installed, but again, this new version of linux is blocking almost all .exe files. What to do?

  2. Hello Jeff (I have removed your email from the comment for security reasons).

    First, the extension of file is .download. Which means either the file was not downloaded successfully, or it was downloaded but the extension remained at .download.

    In either case, make sure that the downloaded file is complete and uncorrupted. Change the extension by renaming the file to appropriate one (.exe,.bat,.com).

    Then, right click that file and go to properties ? Permissions. Under that permissions tab, there is an option to make the file executable, so, mark that file as executable file.

    Now, open your terminal (gnome terminal, under Main Menu ? Applications ? Accessories ? Terminal). Then move into the directory where you have downloaded your file. (In this case, /home/jeffrey/Downloads/unconfirmed And then give command, ‘wine unconfirmed\’.

    I still believe that you should try and check if the file is complete and uncorrupted. If it is complete and if it still doesn’t work, let us know and we will try to resolve the error.

  3. Pingback: How to install and run Dreamweaver CS4 in Ubuntu | noob2geek

  4. wine: cannot find L”C:\\windows\\system32\\Packet.exe”
    this is the error i get i dont know what to do pls help

  5. hey there i have the same problem as the person above, cannot find L”C:\\windows\\system32\\SETUP.exe

    but i have removed and reinstalled in twice and the same thing..

    and what do you mean by part number three of…. Change to the directory where the application installer is located. please help me out. much appriecative. thanks

    • Hi John,

      What I mean in step 3 is – if you download the exe file in /home/aditya/Downloads then, you first need to do cd /home/aditya/Downloads and then issue the command. It’s just for the beginners that do not know the basics.

      Try changing the permissions to the .wine directory to 755.

  6. The problem is in Maverick 10.10 that in Ubuntu software center is Wine Beta (it will show message that its non executable because of security reasons). The proper installation of wine (which runs exe) is in the Synaptic package manager as “wine 1.2″

    Thats it… and i`m the user that hates terminal. Perhaps U are wiser… but the solution U write here is for geek ;]

      • yep… dont use beta. uninstall beta if you already heve it and get wine 1.2. Some progs r not workin correctly like easy thumbnails and vso image resizer… earlier it worked. but there is still many progs that work correctly

  7. Hello!

    I used wine to install freedur and I got the program completely installed and now the program itself will not open up, it just says its loaded and it never appears to actually open. I am a complete linux new-be, anything you know that could help?

  8. You should rather look for this type of program in mozilla plugins… (if you use mozilla) or wait for linux designed version, or there already is similiar program in linux.
    It wont be working on linux by wine. Its not autonomical exe like photo editing programs or etc. Its corelated with other windows and browser functions.

  9. hi tom, it says Couldn’t find any package by regex ‘RsGoldHack.exe. I need this really bad. i installed wine but its not working. Like why though? i even put the link. sudo apt-get install then the link or RsGoldHack.exe and it doesnt work. so please could u reply and tell whats wrong please?

    • Cos U propably did something wrong from the beginnning. Normally you should run wine, select exe, but installable! not .exe from catalog cutten from windows OR PREPARED TO BE AN INSERT INTO WINDOWS GAME. I think this hack may not work… i dont know exactly its build type. Try to find solution at game`s fans sites. And remember.. im noob too.. ask somoene else too

  10. Hello! Completely stupid here! I installed wine via terminal as you described. Seems that all went well until I came to the EULA screen. I couldn’t figure out how to press, click, or acknowledge the button. So I just killed the process. I am brand new to ubuntu ver 11.**. I have an installation disk for my wireless adpater “Belkin F5Db053v4″. I completely do not know how to install it or anything on ubuntu! It seems like that all of the info I get is for people who either know ubuntu, or has some experience with it. In other words, after I closed the EULA screen, I became a complete bonehead! Even after I installed wine, if it even installed, the only place I could find anything about wine confg was in “Applications”, and then “Other”. And then it has a “Configure Wine” there. I clicked on that and it brought up a screen with 7 tabs and the words “Default Settings” in the white screen area. Below that I clicked on “Add Application”, I went to “Look In” and found the “Installer exe.” on the disk, clicked on it, clicked on “Open”, and it brought me back to the 7 tab screen and the “Installer.exe” was below the “Default Settings” in the white screen area. I clicked on “Ok” and that was as far as I got! Nothing happened and I don’t know what to do next! I just plain don’t know! Can you help me out?

    • I didn’t install wine 1.2 via terminal, but via software center.

      And all my knowledge is based on windows… i only compared and deduced how to work in linux in its similiarities.

      So If you were unable to do something like I… you probably did something wrong what i`ll not figure out.

  11. sir,
    when I tried to install ubuntu11.04 with wine I t is installed in c drive what to do to install it in current ubuntu drive (E)

  12. Ok so I have only just started using Ubuntu today so thought I would try and install Incredimail as I love it!

    Managed to finally figure out how to get wine installed and find the cd in the terminal but when I type in wine appname.exe nothing….it just gives me another line to fill in…really strange. No error no nothing…

    And yep being very new to this terminal commands and that are very alien to me.


    Kriss :)

  13. You have just started the adventure with Ubuntu and immediately started to work with terminal? Madness :DD

    Just play with Software Center. Dont touch terminal or you`ll gray. Keep happy as on this avatar. Read the discussion above about WINE if your ask was about installing apps from windows (i deduced that).

  14. Or better forget about Incredimail. Linux has its own proposals for you. If you don`t like to work in browser with your emails, then maybe Thunderbird? Sorry for little OT.

    • LOL…I actually ended up going back to Windows…not for the reason that Wine wouldn’t work properly but basically I had too much software that I have bought that only runs on windows.

      But thanks for the advice! :D

      Kriss :)

      • Aah – that is too bad. Hope you come back to the Linux world soon. Sadly a lot of people start off with terminal too soon as tomek_PL said. Some hit the nail and go on and those who miss it usually never return :(

        • I have tried it several times over the last couple of years and I do really like the Ubuntu interface and everything but found I missed the ‘ease’ of Windows…one thing that Ubuntu really needs is a device detector that actually loads the driver for you…that is so much easier than finding drivers that work with it manually.

          I also had it running as a dual drive and at first I could read and correct everything on the C drive but I installed something not sure what and everything became read only and I couldn’t get it to go back. So tried to take it off and totally cleaned the computer some how….so damn lucky as I had done a back up…phew

          Kriss :)

  15. Yes. My story was the same. I was unable to find a substitute for progs like: Easy thumbnails, Jpeg crops, Aimp… etc. I heard on forums that i can replace aimp with xmms…and etc… it was`nt even standing near it .

    • For me I had Nero and AVS neither of which work on Linux systems and they are brilliant programs. oh and of course Photoshop…yes Gimp is ok and started with that but photoshop does a few more things…although by the look the next release of Gimp will have a few more tweaks that I might like.

      Kriss :)

  16. I have installed wine and can open exe files, but i dont know where to save the program which I am installing. I’m trying to install the old game Sim Tower, and i can get to the install screen, and the game even installs into the C drive, but then times out. Which drive do i choose to install this game? It is old, so i have to type in the drive the old school way rather than search for an appropriate drive/folder.

  17. Great site, thanks for all the really clear info!!

    I have no problem following all of the above (I’ve been 99% on Linux for the past 6 or 7 years, just use Windoze for what I have so far not been able to do on Linux). Right now using Ubuntu 10.04. Am unable to install from CD to Wine (Hyperhealth program that is unavailable on Linux). Since the .exe file is on CD, there is no way that I can find to change the permissions.

    Am I screwed with this program? Does it require booting into Windoze?

  18. hi there can someone help me to get windows games to run on my linux system I am using ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS which is my
    operating system, I did have windows xp installed originally but
    I installed ubuntu 10.4 using the complete drive and then upgraded to ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS

    when I put my game cd BOOKWORM made by BEJEWLED
    in the drive and right click and choose “OPEN” I keep getting
    the following message:

    Archive: /media/floppy0/Autorun.exe
    End-of-central-directory signature not found. Either this file is not
    a zipfile, or it constitutes one disk of a multi-part archive. In the
    latter case the central directory and zipfile comment will be found on
    the last disk(s) of this archive.
    note: /media/floppy0/Autorun.exe may be a plain executable, not an archive
    zipinfo: cannot find zipfile directory in one of /media/floppy0/Autorun.exe or
    /media/floppy0/, and cannot find /media/floppy0/Autorun.exe.ZIP, period.

    I do have wine installed and here are my settings:

    Applications TAB:
    Defaut Settings
    Windows Version: Windows XP

    Libaries TAB:
    Nothing there

    Graphics TAB:
    Only middle two boxes are checked

    Direct3D Section
    Vertex Shader Support: Hardware
    Allow pixel Shader is checked
    Screen Resolution is 96 dpi

    Desktop Integration TAB:
    (No theme)

    Desktop links to /home/myname/Desktop
    My Documents links to /home/myname
    My Pictiures links to /home/myname/Pictures
    My Music links to /home/myname/Music
    My Videos links to /home/myname/Videos

    Drives TAB:
    C: ../drive_c
    D: /media/floppy0
    H: /home/myname
    Z: /

    Audio TAB:
    ALSA Driver is checked

    Hardware Acceleration: Full
    Default Sample Rate: 44100
    Default Bits Per Sample: 16

    About TAB:
    Owner: myname
    Organization: self

    Please assist me, I do Thank You in advance….

    Below is my System Testing:

    Detecting your sound device(s):

    0 [Intel ]: HDA-Intel – HDA Intel
    HDA Intel at 0xf0440000 irq 22

    The following hard drives were detected:

    WDC WD1600BEVT-7

    Disk benchmark:

    Timing cached reads = 546.70 MB/sec
    Timing buffered disk reads = 58.24 MB/sec

    Detecting your network controller(s):

    Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 802.11b/g (rev 01)
    Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast Ethernet controller (rev 02)

    This display is using the following resolution:

    1024 x 600

    The following screens and video modes have been detected on your system:

    Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1024 x 600, maximum 4096 x 4096
    VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
    LVDS1 connected 1024×600+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 224mm x 126mm
    1024×600 60.0*+
    800×600 85.1 72.2 75.0 60.3 56.2
    640×480 85.0 72.8 75.0 59.9
    720×400 85.0
    640×400 85.1
    640×350 85.1

  19. Hi Aditya,

    This seems to me as a hack method. Are you sure on how the impact will it be if a user installs an exe file that is meant for windows on ubuntu?

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