How to Install Windows Programs on Debian using PlayOnLinux

Linux is a full-fledged operating system with all GUI functionalities and thousands of desktop apps. However, still there comes a time when you need a particular application of Windows on your Linux system. Fortunately, Linux has developed a compatibility layer known as Wine that allows running Windows program in a Linux OS. PlayOnLinux is the third party frontend UI for the Wine which helps to install and manage supported Windows programs easily. You can install Internet Explorer, MS Office, notepad, and many other Windows programs.

In this article, we will first explain how to install PlayOnLinux on a Debian system using both the command line and the graphical way. We will then cover how to use the PlayOnLinux for installing a Windows program in a Debian system.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 system. In addition, we have used 7-zip as an example to explain the installation of the Windows program.

PlayOnLinux Installation through the Command Line

Open the command-line Terminal in your Debian OS. For that, go to the Activities tab in the top left corner of your desktop. Then in the search bar, type the keyword terminal. When the search result appears, click on the Terminal icon.

Now in the terminal, run the following command to update the system repository index. It will help you to install the latest release of any package.

$ sudo apt-get update

Update packages

Once the update is completed, run the following command in Terminal to install PlayOnLinux:

$ sudo apt-get install playonlinux

Install PlayOnLinux

The system might provide you with a Y/n option to confirm the installation. Hit y to confirm and the installation will be started in your system.

To verify if the PlayOnLinux is installed and also to check the version of the installed package, run the following command:

$ playonlinux --version

Check PlayOnLinux Version

Launch PlayOnLinux

To launch PlayOnLinux using the command line, run the following command:

$ playonlinux

Remove PlayOnLinux

In case, you want to remove PlayOnLinux from your system, run the following command in Terminal:

$ sudo apt-get remove playonlinux

Remive PlayOnLinux

The system might provide you with a Y/n option to confirm the uninstallation. Hit y to confirm and the package will be removed from your system.

Installation of PlayOnLinux through the Debian Software Manager

If you are new Linux user and are not comfortable with the command line, you can install PlayOnLinux using the Debian Software Manager. Hit the super key on your keyboard and then click on the Software Manager icon on the left sidebar. In the Software Manager window, search for PlayOnLinux using the search icon. You will see the PlayOnLinux listed in the search results as follows:

PlayOnLinux Debian package

Click on the PlayOnLinux package from the search results to open the following view. Now click the Install button to start the installation process.

Start installation

As you click the install button, the following authentication dialog will appear. Enter the authentication password for the authorized user and click the Authenticate button after which the installation process will start.

Authenticate as admin

Once installed, you will see the following view. From here, you can directly launch PlayOnLinux by clicking the Launch button.

Launch PlayOnLinux application

Launch PlayOnLinux through GNOME UI

To launch PlayOnLinux through UI, hit the super key on your keyboard and then search for it using the relevant keywords in the search bar. When the result appears, click on the PlayOnLinux icon to open it.

PlayOnLinux Icon

Remove PlayOnLinux

In case you want to uninstall PlayOnLinux, open PlayOnLinux in the software manager window. When the following view appear, click on the Remove button.

Remove PlayOnLinux

After that, a dialog box will appear asking for your confirmation for the removal of PlayOnLinux. Click on the Remove button and the PlayOnLinux package will be uninstalled from your system.

Install 7zip through PlayOnLinux

Once you have PlayOnLinux installed, the next step to install any Windows program is very easy. Follow the below steps to do so:

When PlayOnLinux will launch, you will see the following default view:


To install any Windows program via PlayOnLinux, click on Install a program option from the left pane as shown in the following screenshot:

Install a program

The following window will appear where you can search for your required Windows application. The search results might show you the available versions of your package. You can then choose the latest or any desired version based on your preferences. Once you find the application, select it, and click the Install button at the bottom of the screen.

Here we will show you an example of installing the 7-zip using PlayOnLinux.

Choose Windows program that shall be installed

The following installation wizard will appear. Here check the box Don’t remind me anymore and click Next.

PlayOnLinux installation wizard

The next screen shows the directory where the package will be installed. Click Next to start the installation process.

Install 7zip through PlayOnLinux

During the installation, a virtual drive will also be created where all of your Windows programs will be installed. The latest available version of Wine will also be installed and configured.

Installation progress

The following window will show the destination folder for installing 7-zip. You can see that it is C: drive. It is actually the virtual C: drive created by Wine in your Linux system for installing Windows applications.

Leave the default location and click Install. After that, your required Windows application will be installed in your system.

Choose folder

Once installed, you will see the program listed in the PlayOnLinux window.

Launch/Remove an installed Application

To launch any installed Windows program, open PlayOnLinux, select the program, and click Run from the toolbar as follows.

Launch installed Windows application

By doing so, your selected program will be launched. The following screen shows the 7-zip is launched and now we can use it in the same way as in Windows OS.

7zip on Linux

To remove any installed Windows program, select the program and click Remove.

Remove Windows app

The following uninstaller will appear. Click Next and the uninstaller will guide you towards the removal process.

PlayOnLinux uninstaller

That is all there is to it! Using one of the above-discussed methods either UI or command line, you can easily install any supported Windows application on your Debian system. All you need is to simply install PlayOnLinux, search for the desired program and install it using the UI wizard.