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How To Use PlayOnLinux To Play Windows Games On Linux

Playing Windows games on Linux is a hot topic. Many users cite this as one of the main reasons they can’t switch to the platform. As a result, many programs pop up trying to solve the gaming problem.

One such program that many people turn to is PlayOnLinux. It’s a free, open-source front-end to Wine that helps users get hundreds of Windows games working on Linux. Here’s how to use PlayOnLinux to play Windows games on Linux.

Install PlayOnLinux

Before using PlayOnLinux, you’ll need to download it to your PC. To get it working on your Linux OS, open up a terminal window and follow the instructions below that correspond with your Linux distribution.

Note: before using the PlayOnLinux app, uninstall Wine or CrossOver if you have them on your Linux PC. While PlayOnLinux can work fine with these other applications on the system, it’s a good idea to uninstall it, so that you do not attempt to install Windows games with any other program.


sudo apt install playonlinux


sudo apt-get install playonlinux

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S playonlinux


sudo dnf install playonlinux


sudo zypper install playonlinux

Generic Linux

The PlayOnLinux application is the best free alternative to paid “Wine made easier” software like CrossOver Office. As a result, the software is accessible through many Linux distribution’s software sources.

If your OS doesn’t have PlayOnLinux, you’ll need to set everything up manually. To start the installation, open up a terminal window and install the Curl download tool.


sudo apt install curl


sudo apt-get install curl

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S curl


sudo dnf install curl


sudo zypper install curl

Generic Linux

Aside from Wget, Curl is a common downloading tool for the command-line on Linux. Chances are, you already have it working on your Linux PC. If you don’t, open up a terminal, search your package manager for “curl” and install it. Alternatively, download the tool directly from the website.

When you’ve got the Curl downloader tool set up, use it to download the latest release of PlayOnLinux

curl https://www.playonlinux.com/script_files/PlayOnLinux/4.2.12/PlayOnLinux_4.2.12.tar.gz > playonlinux.4.2.12.tar.gz

The TarGZ version of PlayOnLinux is quite a large file so the Curl download tool may take a bit of time. Once the download process is complete, use the tar command to extract the archive.

tar -zxvf playonlinux.4.2.12.tar.gz

PlayOnLinux can run, but without a proper desktop shortcut, it’s not going to run conveniently. To set up a shortcut, use echo and erase the code that PlayOnLinux includes in the TarGZ archive. Then, open the empty file with Nano.

echo " " > ~/playonlinux/etc/PlayOnLinux.desktop
nano ~/playonlinux/etc/PlayOnLinux.desktop

Paste the following code into Nano to set up the shortcut.

[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Front-end application for the wine
Exec=~/playonlinux/playonlinux %F

Save the edits with Ctrl + O and exit with Ctrl + X.

Lastly, install the Desktop shortcut into /usr/share/applications. Placing the Desktop entry here will allow you to comfortably launch PlayOnLinux from the application launcher on your Linux desktop.

sudo mv ~/playonlinux/etc/PlayOnLinux.desktop /usr/share/applications/

sudo chmod +x /usr/share/applications/PlayOnLinux.desktop

Install Games with PlayOnLinux

Launch the PlayOnLinux app. When the app is open, look to the left-hand side of the program for “Install a program” and click it to open the installation tool.

In the PlayOnLinux installation tool, you’ll see many different categories. As we are dealing with video games, select the “Games” icon.

PlayOnLinux has dozens of video game options available. To install a specific game, go to the search box, type the name of the video game and press the enter key to show the result.

Alternatively, scroll through the list and find what you need. After you’ve located the game you want to install, click on it to continue to launch the PlayOnLinux Wizard.

Once the Wizard opens, you’ll see a few messages. These messages tell you what to do during the installation. Read through these messages, and click the “Next” button to continue.

Note: don’t like seeing PlayOnLinux Wizards popping up each time you install a game? Check the “don’t remind me anymore” box.

After the Wizard finishes displaying user messages, the game installation will begin. Follow the on-screen instructions to get your Windows game working under PlayOnLinux!

Install A Non-listed Windows Game

Even though the developers discourage it, users can install Windows games in the PlayOnLinux tool that aren’t in the “Games” section.

To install a non-listed Windows game, click the “install a program” button and open up the installation chooser window.

Inside the installation chooser window, click the “install a non-listed program” button.

After you select the “install a non-listed program”, a warning will pop-up. Disregard this warning by pressing “Next” until you get to the “What would you like to do” window.

Select the “Install a program in a new virtual drive”, and click “Next” to continue to the next page.

Set the name of your new PlayOnLinux drive, and click “Next” to move on to the “What would you like to do before installation” page.

On the “what would you like to do before installation” section, make sure all three boxes are unchecked and click “Next” once again to move on.

Note: deselecting these options will allow PlayOnLinux to set up Wine for you, rather than doing it by hand.

For the “what kind of virtual drive do you want to create” portion of the wizard, select the “32 bits windows installation” option, as most games require this setting.

With your PlayOnLinux drive type set, the installation can begin. Click “browse” and find your video game’s EXE installer file and select “Next” to allow the app to install it.

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