Install Windows Games And Software In Linux With PlayOnLinux


Table of Contents

PlayOnLinux is a graphical front-end for Wine (Wine is not an Emulator/ Windows Emulator). Wine is a software compatibility layer that allows Linux users to install quite a several Windows-based computer games and applications such as Microsoft Office (2000 to 2010), Microsoft Internet Explorer, as well as many other non-Microsoft-based applications such as Apple iTunes and Spotify Windows client.

Installing games and apps via Wine may be a little bit intimidating or confusing. PlayOnLinux solves this by providing a simpler point-and-click interface from which you can easily install Windows-based applications and games on Linux. That is, all the complexity of Wine is hidden by default on PlayOnLinux and easily automates the installation of the supported software and games.

PlayOnLinux also allows you to install your Windows-based software on different virtual drives meaning there is no interaction amongst the different applications you install. So if something is not working right, you know it won’t affect the rest of your stuff. And you may easily uninstall it by removing the virtual drive. PlayOnLinux is in Ubuntu’s software repositories, so you can grab it from the Ubuntu Software Center or install it with the following command:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install playonlinux

You can also install it by downloading the latest Debian package from their homepage here. The developers recommend using this installer since it usually contains the latest packages available compared to what’s available in the software repositories of many distros.

How To Install Wine?

After installing PlayOnLinux, you also need to install Wine. Like I mentioned earlier, Wine is the main scheme responsible for running Windows software and games on Linux. Wine allows the applications to run at full speed without employing any CPU emulation. Wine may also be installed from the Ubuntu Software Center. You can also install Wine with the following command via terminal.

Installing A “Supported” Game On PlayOnLinux

1. After installing PlayOnLinux, you may launch it from the Unity Dash. After starting the app, you will be presented with the following which is the main window of the app. Upon your launch, you will be required to agree to a license to install some Microsoft fonts.

install game in playonlinux

2. To install a game or app, click on the Install button at the top. This will take you to the PlayOnLinux install menu.

playonlinux game & software install menu

NOTE: There are different categories of software available including Development, Games, Multimedia, Office, and a few more so you can easily browse through the list of supported software you can install easily from the PlayOnLinux tool.

If you know the very game or app you wish to install, you may also go ahead and search the name and install it from there. You can also filter the software selection to include or exclude software of commercial games, that require your owning of the game CD or are currently in testing for Wine.

3. Select or highlight the game you wish to install and press Install. Note that for some games and programs, you are going to need the purchased CD or download file.

playonlinux install menu

So when you choose a game or software to install, PlayOnLinux invokes a particular script from an online database that includes the needed configuration in order to install and run that particular game or software. For games and software which are not in the database, there is the option of using a manual installation to install.4. Follow the installation prompts to install your game.

playonlinux game installation wizard

5. Once installed, you will see a launch icon on your desktop and another on the PlayOnLinux main window. Double-click either of them to open and run the application.

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play installed game in playonlinux

Install an “unsupported” game on PlayOnLinux

The process of installing an “unsupported” program is almost the same as installing a “supported” one. However, you will be given extra options.

  1. Start PlayOnLinux > the big Install button at the top >
  2. Install a non-listed program (at the bottom left of the window).
  3. Select next on the wizard that appears.
  4. Choose the option to “Install a program in a new virtual drive” and then Next.
  5. Type a name for your setup.
  6. Browse to the installation file and then follow the prompts, which will depend on the application you are installing.
install an unsupported game in playonlinux

Once installed, you will see a launch icon on your desktop and another on the PlayOnLinux main window. Double-click either of them to open and run the application.

How to remove failed installations?

Sometimes, an installation fails (not even the installation process for that application works). Your virtual drive has been created, but you cannot see the application. You can delete the virtual drive as follows.

  1. Close PlayOnLinux and all the programs started from PlayOnLinux, if any.
  2. Open Nautilus and navigate to your home folder > PlayOnLinux’s virtual drives.
  3. Find the virtual drive you wish to delete, and delete it. Do not delete the default.

How to remove the installed games?

Sometimes your installation will work alright but it the quite buggy. Or you just want to remove the game or app. The process is also quite easy. You can uninstall the game as follows.

  1. Start PlayOnLinux  and then select the application you want to uninstall
  2. Press the big Remove button.
  3. When asked, “Do you want to delete the virtual drive”, press Yes and then select Next.


PlayOnLinux allows you to play some Windows games on Linux. You may also install some Windows software using this same tool. And for the games and software that are supported and some unsupported ones that work, you do not need a Windows license to use them. But PlayOnLinux and Wine are pretty limited on the number of games and applications that are available. There are also been some issues with 64-bit based installations. Nonetheless, PlayOnLinux is a pretty nice tool that you should definitely try.

Credit to the contributors to the Ubuntu Documentation wiki.