How To Install Wine to Run Windows Applications On Debian

When it comes to installing Windows applications on Linux, there’s no application that does it better than Wine. Wine is a compatibility layer that enables users to run Windows applications on POSIX compliant operating systems such as Linux and UNIX derivatives such as BSD, FreeBSD, and macOS.

Not all Windows applications are supported, and to get a comprehensive list of all supported applications, head over to the Wine application database – AppDB.

[ You might also like: How to Install Wine in Ubuntu Desktop ]

At the time of publishing this guide, the latest version of Wine is Wine 7.2, which is a development release. The latest stable release is Wine 7.0 Without further ado, let’s switch gears and install Wine on Debian desktops.

Installing Wine in Debian Linux

Straight off the bat, log into your system and update the package index as a sudo user.

$ sudo apt update

A few dependencies are required for the installation of Wine to go through smoothly.

$ sudo apt install software-properties-common gnupg2

With your system up to date and prerequisites installed, proceed to the next step.

Next, you need to enable 32-bit architecture on the Debian system to seamlessly run 32-bit applications with Wine.

$ sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

There are two approaches to installing Wine. You can install Wine from the Debian repository using the APT package manager, which is simple and straightforward and all you need is to run the command:

$ sudo apt install wine

However, this will give you an older version of Wine than the one in the WineHQ repository. Therefore, to install the latest Wine version, it’s recommended to install it from the WineHQ repository.

$ wget -nc https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key
$ sudo apt-key add winehq.key

Once you have successfully added the GPG keys, proceed and add the WineHQ repository to your system.

$ sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/debian/ bullseye main'

Then update the package lists to notify Debian about the newly added Wine repository and start using it.

$ sudo apt update

To install the latest stable version of Wine, run the command

$ sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable

This will give you Wine 7.0.

Alternatively, you can install the development branch which provides the most recent version – Wine 7.2.

$ sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-devel

The installation is quite heavy as it involves the installation of hundreds of packages and dependencies. In my case, this came to about 1.7GB and took roughly 15min. At this point, you can take a much-needed break as the installation of Wine goes on.

Install Wine in Debian
Install Wine in Debian

Once installed, verify the Wine version as follows.

$ wine --version

wine-7.2

Configuring Wine on Debian Linux

So far, we have successfully installed Wine on Debian. However, some post-installation steps are required before Wine is ready to install Windows Apps.

To configure Wine, run the command:

$ winecfg

This creates a hidden directory in the home directory called .wine that contains a “virtual” drive C that contains directories that you would find on a Windows system such as Program Files, Program Files, Program Files (x86), users, and Windows.

Configure Wine in Debian
Configure Wine in Debian

On the next pop-up, click ‘Install‘ to install the wine-mono package which is a prerequisite for .NET applications.

Wine Mono Installation
Wine Mono Installation

The installation will get underway. This takes a minute or two.

Finally, you will see the Wine configuration window as shown. You should be good to go with the default settings, but feel free to adjust the settings to your own preference.

Wine Configuration Settings
Wine Configuration Settings

Installing Windows Application with Wine in Debian

Now, let us see how you can install a Windows App using Wine. To demonstrate this, we will install a VLC media player which is a free and open-source cross-platform media player.

So, head over to the official VLC download page and download the executable file. Once downloaded, right-click on select ‘Open with other application’.

Open With Other Application
Open With Other Application

On the pop-up that appears, select ‘Wine Windows Program Loader‘.

Wine Windows Program Loader
Wine Windows Program Loader

Once again, right-click on the installer and select ‘Open with Wine Windows Program Loader‘. The VLC media installation wizard will open. Click ‘Ok’ to start the installation and follow along right till the end.

Install Windows Apps with Wine in Debian
Install Windows Apps with Wine in Debian

Inside the .wine folder, navigate to the ‘Virtual’ drive_c folder and then the ‘Program Files’ folder. Here you will see a directory for the just installed VLC multimedia application.

Confirm Windows Apps in Debian
Confirm Windows Apps in Debian

This wraps up this guide. In this tutorial, we have demonstrated how to install Wine on Debian Linux. We went a step further and showed you how you can run and install a Windows application with Wine in Debian.

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