General Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

How do I use Windows programs on Ubuntu?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19031points) November 27th, 2010

I’d love to use OneNote without switching over to Windows – how do I go about doing that?

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13 Answers

linuxgnuru's avatar

There are many different ways; the free one is to install wine however if you’re wanting better support and more stability look into programs like VMware.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@linuxgnuru Exactly how much stability (or lack thereof) does Wine have?

the100thmonkey's avatar

I’ve never used OneNote, so can’t comment on how the feature lists compare, but you might want to look into Tomboy Notes – it’s part of the default install of Ubuntu.

WINE works well with MS Office, I understand – code to it is contributed by Crossover Office, I believe, which is a paid service. The difference between WINE and Crossover Office is that WINE enjoys only community support.

It seems that OneNote 2007 works best.

open a terminal, and type:

sudo apt-get install wine

and go from there.

Alternatively, try Tomboy.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@papayalily It really depends on the program. Wine works amazingly well with some, others not so much.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

So then do I just install OneNote like normal, or do I need to install it via Wine, or what?

Vincentt's avatar

You can use Wine’s appDB to check whether an application will work with Wine. According to the OneNote page, some people have gotten the 2007 version working with a relatively recent version of Wine (which you should have if you have a recent version of Ubuntu). On that page you can also see what others have reported works and doesn’t work – though the reports aren’t that recent. If you try it, consider adding a report yourself :)

Running applications with Wine is a matter of right-clicking a .exe-file, and then select Open with.. -> Wine Windows Emulator (or something like that). Of course, you first need to install Wine through the Software Center.

That said, if you truly want stability, you can try running Windows inside Ubuntu using a virtual PC, through VirtualBox (which you can just install from the Software Center). After you install that, you can run it to install Windows inside it.

Also, I found a tutorial on running OneNote using Bordeaux, which apparently is a proprietary application based on Wine. Not sure whether it’s cool, but you can consider it.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Vincentt Unfortunately, I’m using OneNote 2003 (because I hate 2007), and using two different version creates different compatibility issues. But this VirtualBox you speak of sounds really sexy and viable…

Vincentt's avatar

Ah, that version apparently doesn’t work as well. However, if your computer is viable enough to handle VirtualBox, I would certainly give that a try.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Vincentt So how do I set up a new virtual machine with VirtualBox? I went throught the wizard, but I think I did something wrong because it says on startup “Fatal: No bootable medium found! System halted”

the100thmonkey's avatar

You need a Windows installation disk.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@the100thmonkey Ok, I don’t have one – Windows came installed on this current computer. Is there a way to make a disc from it, or do I need to buy a new copy?

Vincentt's avatar

Ehm, it’s been a while since I ran VirtualBox. Luckily, I wrote a tutorial about that at the time. The process might have changed a bit nowadays, but it was something like this:

1. Click New to create a new virtual machine.
2. In the Settings window for the virtual machine, Hard Disks section, create a new hard drive with enough space to house Windows.
3. In the CD/DVD-ROM section of the settings window, choose to mount the CD drive.

Then you should be able to run that machine and run the installation process, I think. You might need to configure boot order too. I’m not entirely sure, as I mostly just used it to run LiveCD’s without hard drives, but that should be the general process. What I would also do is to look up a tutorial on installing your Windows version in VirtualBox. You can also make a new question on Fluther with more relevant tags, or perhaps ask it on

the100thmonkey's avatar

@papayalily – that would depend on whether or not you erased the recovery parition on the hard drive when you installed Ubuntu.

I would say that as you already have a license key (printed on the bottom of your machine), you could grab an iso of Windows (XP/Vista/7) from somewhere and just install to the VM from that. However, I’m not sure whether or not that contravenes the Windows EULA and/or relevant copyright law.

Moreover, running a virtual machine for the sole purpose of running OneNote strikes me as massive overkill.

I recommend biting the bullet and learning to use Tomboy Notes.

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