back to article How can I run Windows apps on a Linux Acer Aspire One?

It just read your review of the Acer Aspire One. I've had one for a week or so and find that I can't load up windows files (*.EXE), which is a bit of a blow as I wanted to be able to do basic Autocad drawings. Is there an easy way to get it to run windows files? And what are the basic hacks needed to be able to install …


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  1. sixthring

    Good Luck

    You could try the app wine to run windows application in nix. I do not know what luck you will have with autocad. Also thunderbird should have a nix flavor your computer:

  2. James

    Define 'Easy'

    Unlike the Staples commercial, there is no such thing as an 'easy' button when it comes to running Windows apps on Linux.

    That's not to say it's impossible, just it takes a bit of doing.

    You have two main options -- run your app using Wine (compatibility layer for Linux, allowing Windows applications to run), or virtualization using VMWare, Xen, or some other app.

    With Wine, the nice thing is, you don't need a licensed copy of Windows. The bad part is, you need to be able to configure it, and Wine can be a bit finicky in which applications it likes to run. Some run better than others; your mileage may vary.

    With virtualization, the nice thing is, your app will run exactly as it does on Windows, because that's what it'd be doing -- running on Windows, installed into a 'virtual machine' on Linux. The bad part is, you have to set up the virtual machine, and also have a licensed copy of Windows to install into it. Once the virtual machine is running, you can install your app and run it just like as if it was a native Windows machine.

    There are lots of other people out there who want to do the same types of things that you are thinking about; chances are some of them have already solved your problems. Try searching for support articles using keywords that include your hardware, software, etc. to see what comes up.

    Good luck!

  3. Daniel Moss

    Somewhere to start...

    Without having used one, I can only tell you where to look. Use everybody's friend Google to search for your laptop and the program WINE, which lets Windows apps run under Linux. I wouldn't like to make any bets how well the low-power Atom CPU will cope with a CAD program though.

  4. Patrick O'Reilly

    May I?

    sudo apt-get install thunderbird

  5. TonyZ

    Windows apps on Linux

    There are 3 programs to run "Windows programs" on linux Crossover Office, Wine, and Cedega.

    Crossover is for business applications like Adobe Photoshop & MS Office.

    Cedega is geared twards gaming.

    Wine handles everything else and is free...

    Sometimes one of those 3 may work better than the one that specializes in a particular application set, it's more about trial and error.

    Each one of those apps has a "Supported Applications" list and last I checked AUTODESK anything was not on them. I own ACAD r10, 11, 13, 2005 & Architectural Desktop... NONE of them fly on Linux.

    There are tricks that can be used such as loading the native program DLL's but I never got that deep into it, I just dual boot. I have one 30GB partition for WinXP, Visual Studio 2008, AutoCAD, 3DS, and MAYA and a 60GB partition for Linux. When I need to use AutoCAD I boot into XP. The beauty part here is the XP partition NEVER has to see the internet. When I need to uplodad a file to a client, I boot into linux and access the XP partition.

    There are Linux CAD packages out there and they import .DXF files rather well and for the most part are like "old" autocad as far as the interface and commands goes.

    Good Luck.

    Tux cause he's the ONLY person I trust.

  6. AndiTails

    Luckily, I fixed this very issue 2 days ago :)

    Well, you won't be able to run Windows Apps on Linspire that easily, as if you could get WINE to install, you then still might have a problem with your CAD software being supported (highly unlikely).

    Though you could get a USB CD-ROM drive (£15-20 on eBay) and install XP.

    I did that with my g/f's One this weekend, took a few hours as its not the fastest of processors, but works really well and is pretty nippy to use.

    Drivers for XP available from Acer - Google is your friend :)

  7. Peter Bradley

    Several ways

    The first way is to try using WINE. If this fails, I'd recommend downloading and installing the free VMWare server and then installing Windows as a guest application in VMWare.

    Finally, if all else fails, you can dual boot.



  8. W. LeRoy Davis

    re: Windows Hack on an Aspire

    For CAD under Linux, check out for a few choices.

    As for *.EXE files, these are not specifically Windows files, but more specifically Microsoft EXEcutable files. There are many ways to run these files, Wine ( is a nice way to add the Windows Application Programming Interface. The API allows Windows to EXEcute programs with the appropriate resources (eg Printer, Keyboard, Speaker, Network, etc.). For something as small as the Aspire, you might want to "fine tune" what resources are being used with a smaller, more specific API program.

    Check out for Thunderbird under Linux.

  9. Ben

    Readers' advice?

    I don't own an Aspire One, but I have tinkered with several Asus EEE.

    The Acer runs a version of Linux called Linpus Lite. It will not natively run Windows executable files.

    If you need to do so, then the answer is WINE. Installing WINE should be straight forward, but google for Linpus instructions if there is not an easy way to add programs.

    Once WINE is installed, you will be able to run .EXE files, but before you could run AutoCAD or anything like it, you will need to install the program - so it is probably setup.exe you need, on a CD.

    I have no experience of running AutoCAD on WINE, but I would not be surprised if you ran in to problems. Also, the speed and screen size of the Aspire do not make it ideal - if you open a complicated dwg file, I would expect it to slow to a crawl.

    Have a look around for Linux alternatives however. Again, I don't know what there is available - but a google for "linux dwg viewer" should give options.

    Good Luck

  10. kristiaan davies

    windows apps on linux.

    Hi, its not really possible to run a .exe application within linux by default. there is a project going at the moment called WINE. they have released a linux program that allows you to run windows applications on linux.

    I would not guarantee that its going to run autocad though.

    check the project out though as it may be of some use to you it may even work perfectly

    hope this helps.

  11. dv

    Not that easy

    Short answer? First, you probably won't be able to run AutoCAD on Linux, and second, there's a linux version of Thunderbird, no hacks needed (at least not the extraordinary ones:-]). Visit the Mozilla Thunderbird download page and pick up the linux version. Be sure to have the requirements installed (GTK libs etc.).

    As for the .exe problem, try wine. It's a fairly capable windows emulator for linux. You just *might* be able to run CAD on it, but i strongly doubt it. Another option is installing some kind of a virtual machine software (VMWare comes to mind), buy yourself a copy of Windows and install that on the virtual machine. But that kind of defeats the purpose of having linux in the first place...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What linux does the Acer have?

    Well basicly, you can run windows applications on linux by getting wine and using it to run the windows apps, if it fails, you're out of luck. I recommend installing ubuntu thou, which is much more friendly for first time "power users".

  13. Gildas


    Not sure you will have much joy getting .exe files to run on Linux, but as for setting up T/bird, you can find that info and much else here:

  14. John Doe

    Windows apps.

    ...may or may not run on Linux thru either wine ( or CrossOver ( Wine is free, CrossOver is commercial.

  15. Alwyn Tan

    Use WINE.

    Hope these help. Regards.

  16. Alwyn Tan

    Don't want Wine or CrossOver?

    Bordeaux is available for US$20, and is targetted at those who can't afford CrossOver but find Wine a bit too cumbersome to set up. It's available at

    Hope this helps.

  17. Ben


    Not sure about Linpus, not least because I can't access there website currently, but if it is Fedora based, the yum command might be your best friend. "yum install thunderbird" should do it, if you have access to terminal.

    Various reports I have seen suggest that Linpus Lite is not much fun, if you are doing more than internet browsing. The suggestions is often to install Ubuntu instead.

    When it comes to AutoCAD, most people agree it will be tough to get it working with WINE, and a virtual machine will probably be pretty slow. I would at least look at to see if it does what you need. If you just need to access dwg files, it might be enough.

  18. James Wade


    Of course the obvious response is "install windows", but I'm going to go beyond that simply because it's clear you don't know and it's on my RSS feed.

    I thought everyone knew that you can't run windows applications on Linux. I guess I'm wrong, so I thought I'd share this valuable knowledge.

    Having said that there is the WINE project (see: and similar software applications that allow you to run supported windows applications, especially games (see:, however do bare in mind that wine v1.0 only came out in July, after 15 years. (see:

    All this aside, the best way around this is to use software that is native to Linux instead of trying to trick the windows software.

    For opening your Autocad Drawing files on Linux, I would see if there is an open source alternative that will let you do this.

    The Audocad filetype is DXF, and the wikipedia provides a list of software that supports it (see:, also you can find a list of Linux computer aided design software in the wikipedia (see: Just work out which application appears in both articles. (At a glance I see blender is in both, try that).

    In the case of Thunderbird, you should be able to just download and install the Linux version provided by Mozilla.

    For the Acer Aspire One, you may find there are steps (see: you need to take to gain access to the "advanced" features.

    Or, you can just give it to me...

  19. mike

    Install Windows or Forget Windows, that is the question.

    You could play around with cedega, crossover office, wine and alike, alternatively just try to find an application that works with your operating system. I'm not a CAD user myself, but there are applications that can perform this kind of modelling for POSIX environments. A quick google provides this links page :

  20. JimP

    Right now...

    If you have enabled "advanced" mode, Thunderbird is merely a matter of choosing "add/remove software" from the "system" menu, click on the search tab and type "thunderbird" (without quotes), and clicking in the checkbox for the package "thuinderbird -" and then "apply".

    Autocad is going to be a pain with Linpus Lite (which is what your Aspire One comes with), as Wine is not a straightforward install. It is possible that some older versions of Autocad might work with Dosbox (which does install from add/remove), but that name on its own should give you an idea of how old a version we are talking here, and dongles are out! There is a CAD package worth trying as its free and might do what you want - using the same approach as for Thunderbird, do a search for qcad and install that. It will appear under the Graphics menu.

    If you want to try Autocad with Wine, it would be easier to install Ubuntu (specifically Xubuntu 32 bit, unless you buy more memory) as at least it is easier to get Wine (and many other things) installed with no fuss.

  21. W

    If anybody else mentions Wine...

    ...I'll not be responsible for my actions. Be honest and admit it ain't really happening. Have you seen the App db?

    Q: "I wanted to be able to do basic Autocad drawings. Is there an easy way to get it to run windows files?"

    A: I'd have thunk that installing Windows onto the Acer would be easier than getting AutoCAD running on Linux. And cheaper too, even if you have to buy XP, when you consider the faffery factor.

    Having done that, you should be good to go. AutoCAD R14 and 2000 have very low spec requirements that any of today's new systems will easily exceed. Even LT 2002 ain't greedy.

    This [] page gives a good rundown of requirements of each CAD version. Looking at it, I'd fancy your chances if you follow the "install windows" route.

    Out of interest, what did you plump for? I can see that a netbook with CAD could be v useful for some quick draughting on site during surveys etc.

  22. TimM

    Extra possibility - .Net apps

    If that Windows app is a .Net app, there is some chance you might get it running under Mono.

    Mono is the linux port of the .Net runtime, and you should just be able to do something like (I forget as its been a while)...

    mono myapp.exe

    If it's an app using standard runtime stuff it has a good chance of working. If it uses a lot of Windows Form library stuff (or whatever it's called now) it may struggle, depending how much has been ported of the runtime so far.

    However, .Net is looking like a much better way to get cross platform "binaries" (if you can call them that). Though things work much better if they're built for mono and then they'll usually work fine on Windows.

    Anything complex is unlikely to work (so sadly I can't get Nikon's fantastic Capture NX to work under mono, though it uses more than just .Net anyway).

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