Windows in Linux

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computing: software: operating systems: Linux/Windows: Windows in Linux


This page is about various ways of running Windows applications under Linux.

The two main techniques are:

hardware emulation

Hardware emulation simulates a computer in software, allowing you to "install" the operating system of your choice within a window (and on a "hard drive image", which is actually a file living on your real hard drive) in Linux.


  • runs slowly (virtualization offers a way around this, but not all emulators offer it and there are compatibility issues)
  • Windows files do not co-exist with "real" files on your hard drive; a large chunk of drive space must be dedicated to the emulation
  • Cannot paste back & forth between Windows apps and Linux apps; you have to use Winpopup or other messaging applications
  • Limited support for connecting directly to real USB devices or other hardware

Hardware emulators include:

Windows API emulation

API emulation (which is arguably not "emulation" but merely "compatibility") attempts to provide, within Linux, all the same services and API calls which would be available to an application running within Windows. Unfortunately, in actual use many programs will not run with the only existing API emulator, WINE.

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