Some users do not prefer Linux for the reason that they do not find their favorite Windows applications within the Linux software center and repositories. Although the solution exists  for this problem that is Wine – the Windows-compatibility environment that lets you install Windows programs on Linux. But the problem with the Wine is that it is a command-line based that is not easy for a beginner or the average Linux user.

PlayOnLinux is another application that lets you achieve the same purpose but is GUI based. PlayOnLinux can be called as a front-end UI of the Wine application. When we install any application via PlayOnLinux, it downloads and forms a suitable environment for running that application. In addition, PlayOnLinux installs each application in a separate virtual environment isolated from all other applications. It ensures that no one application environment interferes with the other one.

In this article, we will learn how you can install Windows Applications on Linux using the PlayOnLinux. First, we will describe how you can install PlayOnLinux on Debian 10 both through the command line and the graphical user interface. Then, we will describe how you can use the PlayOnLinux for installing a Windows application, Notepad plus plus in our scenario. You can follow the same procedure for installing any other application.

We have used Debian 10 for describing the procedure mentioned in this article.

PlayOnLinux Installation through the Command Line

Most of the Linux distributions including Debian contain PlayOnLinux in their repositories. So we can install it using apt-get command in Terminal. To do so, launch the Terminal by going to the Activities tab in the top left corner of your desktop. Then in the search bar, type terminal. When the Terminal icon appears, click on it to open. Then in the Terminal, execute the following command to update the repositories.

$ sudo apt-get update

When prompted for the password, enter the sudo password.

Update packagesNow we will use the apt-get command in order to install PlayOnLinux. Run the following command to do so:

$ sudo apt-get install playonlinux

Install playonlinux

The system may ask you for the confirmation by providing with the Y/n option. Hit Y to confirm and then hit Enter and the installation will be started on your system. Wait for a while until the installation is completed on your system.

Once done, you can run the following command in the Terminal to verify the installation and check the version of the PlayOnLinux installed.

$ playonlinux --version

Check PlayonLinux version

Launch PlayOnLinux

To launch PlayOnLinux, hit the super key on your keyboard. Then in the search bar that appears, type the keyword PlayOnLinux. From the search results, click on the PlayOnLinux icon to launch it.

PlayOnLinux Icon

Remove PlayOnLinux

In case you want to remove PlayOnLinux installed via above method, run the following command as sudo in Terminal:

$ sudo apt-get remove playonlinux

Remove PlayOnLinux

Installation of PlayOnLinux through the software center

PlayOnLinux can also be installed using the Debian software center. To launch the software center, hit the super key on your keyboard. In the left sidebar, you will see the software center icon as shown below. Click on it to open.

Software center

In the Software Center window, click on the search bar and type playonlinux. It will list the PlayOnLinux package. Click on it to proceed towards installation.

Debian PlayOnLinux package

You will see the Install button. Click on it to start the installation.

Install PlayOnLinux

Before installation, the authentication dialog box will appear, enter the password and click Authenticate and the installation will be started on your system. Once the installation is completed, you will see the following screen. Here you can click on Launch button to launch PlayOnLinux directly from here or later you can open PlayOnLiunx from the Application’s menu.

Launch Application

Install Notepad Plus Plus through PlayOnLinux

When PlayOnLinux will will launch, you will see the following view. To install any application through PlayOnLinux, click on Install a program in the left pane.

Install Windows Program

You will see the following view with a search bar. Here you can search for your required application by typing its keyword. In this example, we are going to install the Notepad Plus Plus application through PlayOnLinux. For that, we will search for it by typing the keyword notepad in the search bar. From the results that appear, select the application by clicking on it. Then click on the install button at the bottom right corner of the PlayOnLinux window.

Choose application

It will open the installation wizard, click on Next to start the installation process.

PlayOnLinux Wizard

Click Next to proceed.


Again click Next.

Proceed with installation

PlayOnLinux will create a virtual drive for the Notepad plus plus on your system during the installation process. All the Windows applications are installed in a separate virtual drive. In this step, the latest version of Wine will also be installed on your system.

Once done, click on Next.

Downloading WineHQ

Next, in this step, it will install Microsoft fonts.

Installing Microsoft Fonts

You can choose to use the setup file placed on your system or to download the installer files. We have opted for the second choice.

Installing Notepad++

A dialog box will appear for you to select a language. Select your desired language and press OK.

Choose language

Now the following wizard will appear. This Wizard is quite self-explanatory and will lead you through the rest of the installation process.

Notepad++ setup wizard

Once done, click Finish to close the installation wizard.

Run Notepad++

Now the Notepad plus plus application has been installed on your system. You can use it in the same way as in Windows OS. Using the above method, you can install any other windows application other than just Notepad Plus Plus.

Notepad++ on Debain 10

Launch/Remove an installed Application

To launch any application installed via PlayOnLinux, simply open the PlayOnLinux, select the application and click Run.

Similarly to uninstall any application, select the application and click Remove. By doing so, the uninstaller wizard will appear and guide you towards the application removal procedure.

Uninstall applications

That is all there is to it! PlayOnLinux is a really simple yet efficient tool if you need to run any Windows application in your Debian OS. All you have to do is to install PlayOnLinux in your system and then through it, search and install any windows application using the wizard.

How to Install Windows Applications on Debian 10 using PlayOnLinux

Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn