I am running Mint 18.1 serena MATE, and have installed Wine 1.6.2

I have several Windows programs that each consist only of a directory containg an .exe, maybe a .dll or two, and some data files. They currently reside on a fuse drive (old windows system ntfs drive).

First, Wine doesn't like to run stuff directly from a fuse drive.

Second, Wine likes to run an installer (generally .msi file) that will let it place the files used by an application on a Wine virtual drive (thus avoiding direct access to the foreign/fuse drive).

The programs I have don't have installers. They are XP Windows mode (not console mode) games like Freecell, Majhon, Klondyke, but from the days before .msi or .net was a gleam in anyone's eye. They were first passed around on floppies!

The authors compiled everything to run basically "stand alone" (run-times, etc. are linked into the application.) The "install" instructions are "Copy this directory to your hard disk, then create a Windows shortcut to start the executable."

How do I introduce these style of programs to Wine, since they have no installer?

PS: Please don't point me to Linux native versions of the games I have mentioned. This is a general question about older Windows programs, which do not have to be games at all.

1 Answer 1


The real question here revolves around what Wine does for a old school installer type program (e.g. InstallShield before MSI). The answer is little, if anything. No short-cuts, no start menu, no add/remove programs, no WoW.

(However, the Wine Uninstaller can work with .msi files if an newer installer is just a front end for MSI. But I don't know of any easy way to get a .msi package from just a directory with everything in it.)

The installer program itself, not Wine, tries to take care of all these things. For example, an installer can create a shortcut in \users\public\start menu\startup. Wine is oblivious, and the program won't be automatically fired off. Nor will a .cpl magically appear on the (non-existent) control panel.

It's the Linux desktop that's going to provide any user level services that Windows users expect from the Windows desktop (aka Windows Explorer). All Wine does is try and keep the dlls straight (winecfg) and handle the windows system calls.

So, after you copy your files into the Wine "virtual drive" ~/.wine/drive_c/..., finish up in Linux using your desktop of choice and file manager of choice to create shortcuts, add the program (links) to Unix folders, etc.

For example, using xfce and Thunar, right clicking on the .exe file in the ~/.wine/... tree offers options to "open with wine windows program loader" or "sendto desktop (create link)". The link is just a launcher on the xfce desktop which starts the wine windows program loader targeting the program.

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