Running older Windows applications on Linux

While generally speaking Linux can't run Windows applications, some older programs and basic apps will work thanks to an awesome piece of software called wine.

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to install wine and use it to install and run an old version of Paint Shop Pro for Windows - version 4.

Note: this tutorial only works on standard x86 PC hardware. That's the vast majority of computers (any PC that can run Windows is fine), but if you're running on a non-standard hardware setup, such as an old PowerPC Mac, this won't work for you (wine doesn't do processor emulation). Sorry!

This tutorial isn't too technically difficult, but you will need to do a little bit of command line copy-and-paste.

First of all, let's install wine. Head to your software management application (Applications > Add/Remove on Ubuntu, for example). Search for wine and choose to install the package that it will find. Once the installation is complete, close your software management app and return back to the desktop.

Head to your terminal program and run the following:

$ wine winver

The first time you run that, wine will need to go off and set up its fonts and do its initial configuration. When that's done, a little version dialogue box will pop up. Dismiss this and we can move on!

Pop in your Windows app's CD - I'm using my old Paint Shop Pro 4 disc. Double-click the CD icon that will appear on the desktop. Now find the setup program (psp4/install/setup.exe for me) and right-click it. Choose Open With Other Application or similar. Click the triangle below Use a custom command if you see it, and type wine for the command to run.

Click OK to run the setup program. Now run the setup program as normal (ignore the fact that it will go on about the C: drive, just accept the default location). Exit the install when it's done just as you would do.

Paint Shop Pro 4 install

If all has gone well, you should fine a new Wine category on your applications menu or K menu. Inside here, you should find a handy shortcut to your new Windows application! Launch it as you normally would and enjoy.

Paint Shop Pro 4 on Linux

Remember - whether an application runs under wine or not is not a science. If it doesn't work - it probably just doesn't work, sorry. However, if there is a Windows app you really need to run which is old enough, it's worth giving wine a crack.

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold -

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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