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Run Windows On Linux: Win4Lin Revisited

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Last response: in Memory
June 20, 2006 10:39:43 AM

Win4Lin allows you to run Windows on a guest Linux environment. It works well, but does it really achieve near-native Windows performance as stated by Win4Lin?

More about : run windows linux win4lin revisited

June 20, 2006 11:26:41 AM

(Attention: the following post is probably the most useless of the day)

I am am quite eager to find out if games work at all in this fashion. If it does... I might actually take this for a test-drive. Has anyone been using this, or any emulation software for Linux?
a b } Memory
June 20, 2006 11:45:07 AM

(Attention: the following post is probably the most useless of the day)

I am am quite eager to find out if games work at all in this fashion. If it does... I might actually take this for a test-drive. Has anyone been using this, or any emulation software for Linux?

I cannot imagine that this would be working well. Especially because the new games even let the most dedicated systems sweat.

For a linux user that really needs to use (i have a hard time coming up with an excample) a windows application however... Why not.


"Any application built upon the DirectX graphics library won't work under Win4Lin owing to its lack of built-in support."

So not really.
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June 20, 2006 11:55:43 AM

It would have been more interesting to see the booting times and others, compared to VMware...

You don't need to be a genious to figure out that it's slower than a native windows (thou there is "how much?")

Well a great review anyways, I tried to install win2k with this a month ago, but it complained that the media isn't bootable (my win2k disc might be broken..)

June 20, 2006 11:57:23 AM

How about running Linux under Windows?

It takes some effort to set up the networking but the performance is good.

I am running Debian but there are a number of other supported distros. All the Linux application I have tried have worked including google earth. The main problem is that you need to install a windows X terminal like Cygwin's XWin.
a b 5 Linux
June 20, 2006 12:07:20 PM

I have used both recently on the same machine (actually, QEMU + KQEMU module, but it's the same whing without pretty wrapping), and they both seem roughly the same, VMWare perhaps getting a slight edge due to some additional tools that can be installed in the guest OS to help things along. Don't have any hard and fast numbers, just gut feeling.

Also note that the horrendously slow install times noted in the article are not aparent in VMWare Server.

In the end, I've been able to run Windows XP Pro at native speed on my machine with the regular visual stuff turned on, but that's mainly a credit to my machine. It's great for trying out different OS's like FreeBSD and Solaris that I would not readily install on my home machine for learning purposes.

All you Windows users that want to try out some version of Linux but are afraid to actually put it on the hardware, I heartily endorse giving VMWare Server a go. It was fairly straightforward installing it on Linux, so I imagine it's quite easy to do in Windows ;) 
edit: or as CDDK states, colinux.
June 20, 2006 1:16:48 PM

ya thats actually a really intelligent idea to use VM tools to try out linux. It is a lot easier to do virtualized linux than deal with wiping your Harddrive.

If I ever try out other newer linux versions (besides Fedora) I will make sure to use these VM tools...
June 20, 2006 2:07:19 PM

I am am quite eager to find out if games work at all in this fashion. If it does... I might actually take this for a test-drive. Has anyone been using this, or any emulation software for Linux?

I get the feeling this guy did not actually READ the article.......
June 20, 2006 2:53:22 PM

If you want to try a Linux distro without messing with your Windows installation try a Live CD or Live DVD. Boot Linux up off the CD/DVD without having to install it (e.g. Knoppix at Some of these Live CDs are useful tools to have if you are traveling or you you want to recover from a Windows drive that won't boot (e.g. You can be up and running Linux as fast as you can download a 650MB ISO and burn a CD.

You can also be up and running Linux on Windows using the free VMware Player software and one of the free virtual appliances at A lot of the more popular distros are avaialble as well as various BSD distros. Or, if you like hacking, you can roll your own. See, for example:

I have a dual boot OpenSuse 10 and W2K home installation at the moment. This is still a bit of an experiment but I'm impressed enough that I'll probably upgrade this to SLED 10 when it is available. I've been a long time Windows user but I just can't get excited about Vista. It's very late, stripped of lots of promised features, has a high hardware requirement, and it's expensive for what it is. Why do I need this? At work I got upgraded from W2k and Office 97 to WXP and Office 2003. And I'm hard put to see that I got anything out the change. I'm already running a lot of Open Source apps on Windows that all come in Linux versions. There are a few apps I need that won't run on Linux so I'm probably looking at using VMware Workstation or maybe Parallels (

If you want to get a taste of the forthcoming (July) Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 take a look at these videos:
The cool XGL desktop will run on a cheap $30 Nvidia card unlike Vista's Aero.
Screenshots here:
Open Suse 10.1 available here (but this was just released and there are some issues being worked out with the package update manager...):

They're getting there...
June 20, 2006 3:52:07 PM

I would like to see WINE, or crossover office, cedega, compared to win4lin. Since WINE is a translation library allowing windows apps run natively under linux, it should be a lot faster. It would be nice to see how compatable it is with desired apps and how well the run. It would also be cool to see how efficient the directX to openGL libraries work.
a b 5 Linux
June 20, 2006 4:50:52 PM

Yes, liveCD's are great and they are a great intro, but my suggestion for using a virtual machine is more along the lines of testing out the installation process (as streamlined as it is now, in most cases) as well as daily use and software install. For most users who are kinda curious about Linux, i'd say the following migration path is a nice way to ease into it...

LiveCD: get to see what all the hoopla's about, get a feel for interface and software
Virtual Install: become more familiar with the management/daily use aspects of Linux
Dual Boot: furthering the daily-use experience, this time at full-speed and full capability

If you need to learn it fast, for example for work/school purposes, I'd say get a friend (I or any of the admitted Linux fans who use this forum will do) to help setup a dual-boot and set the default to be Linux. That way, when you turn of the machine and just walk away, you'll be gently prodded into using Linux for daily stuff.

My $.02

edit: Fixed a typo or two
a b 5 Linux
June 20, 2006 4:59:56 PM

I can tell you (again, no hard numbers here, just gut feeling) once I got it installed and running* under WINE, GTA Vice City ran just as fast as it did under Windows with a glitch here and there. I haven't yet installed it on my VMWare'd XP Pro, and if you'd like I can give it a go and report back, but I have a feeling it'd be noticeable slower due to the increased (although optimized) overhead.

Breakdown from my experiences:
WINE - usually fullspeed or sometimes faster, but can be painful to set up and glitchy
Cedega - no experience, ask others
VMWare/QEMU+KQEMU - 75-90% full speed

*required running down various Windows DLL's of specific versions and editing the WINE config file. For any Windows users that wish to point to this as a reason that Linux isn't ready for primetime, try installing Cygwin, then any Linux app. API redirection or whatever you wish to call it ain't easy but it is fast.
June 20, 2006 8:19:10 PM

- is very user-friendly
- has GUI wizards for anything you might want to do
- is also slightly faster than Qemu.
- Supports a very wide range of guest operating systems (like Mac OS X)
- it abuses the host Linux system (nice -10, lots of kernel modules) disrupting other native applications
- it requires root privileges to run
- Uses many kernel hooks that may break with recent Linux kernels (gfx drivers suffer from this too).
- is proprietary software, not open.
- needs a license to work, which can expire at any time and demand to be renewed.

Qemu by contrast
- is a little slower
- you need to fiddle with its command-line options
- you need to compile its simple KQemu kernel module and insert it by hand
- Does not support many guest operating systems. (no Win Vista yet, no Mac OS X)
- it's completely open and free
- runs with a simple user account
- runs smooth and does not abuse the host system
- it will NEVER expire, never bother you with licenses and stuff :-)

I vote for Qemu anytime, unless performance is a deciding factor or you want to host a strange operating system.

Running games and other 3d applications is not practical on any of those virtual machines.

Dual booting is a PITA: rebooting takes time and you usually need programs from both systems.

colinux is FAST. Faster than any virtual machine, BUT it is also insecure (your Linux kernel has complete control over all your windows disks)

Wine is nice if you only want to run 1-2 small windows apps but it becomes a problem as your needs increase.

A heavy Linux user's two cents.
a b 5 Linux
June 20, 2006 10:32:52 PM

Performance under VMware is actually not bad. My Athlon X2 runs Windows XP on VMware Server 1.0.0 (Gentoo 64 host) pretty well- just a touch slower than my 2.2GHz Pentium 4-M notebook does natively.

However, do NOT try to install Vista x64 using VMware to test it! You do not have enough power to do so if your computer cost less than 5 grand and you got it yesterday. You need at least 4GB of RAM, 4 fast cores, and a very fast HDD array. 2GB RAM, my X2 OC'd to 2.5GHz, and a Raptor did not even come close to cutting it. I even have 6GB swap striped across both the HDDs in my system and still had a system load between 12 and 19 and change (!!) while running Vista. Oh, and I was swapping about 1K pages per second even though I only gave Vista 1GB RAM. Vista on VMware on my desktop acted like the PII-300 with 192 MB RAM running XP SP2 that I have to use at work.
a b 5 Linux
June 20, 2006 11:21:59 PM

I can see the value and the ideology behind supporting libre software, but I subscribe to the school of if it works and it doesn't harm anything, use it. If, for some reason, VMWare decides to pull the rug out from under me, I will reinstall QEMU and be fine.

Also, not sure what version you were using, but vmware server installs 2 modules and, while one process of the vmware group was -10, loading my virtual systems to the point they slowed to a crawl (compiling in ubuntu, fedora, anf freebsd while running prime95 in windows 2000 AS) my host system was still very responsive. Things may have improved since you've last tried it.

And speaking of libre software, until Fabrice release the code for the KQEMU module, you use the buggy QVM86 one, or you simply use no acceleration and as such have a very sluggish system, even QEMU isn't libre. Also, as for user account use, if you use one of the acceleration modules you of course need root priviledges to insert and configure said module.

Just offering a few rebuttles to a very solid set of points and views.
/from a daily, also heavy Linux user and Kernel contributor ;) 
June 21, 2006 12:22:15 AM

I am am quite eager to find out if games work at all in this fashion. If it does... I might actually take this for a test-drive. Has anyone been using this, or any emulation software for Linux?

I get the feeling this guy did not actually READ the article.......

lol... Unfortunately, no. I read this thread quickly as I was getting ready for work this morning. Sorry if I asked a lame question :?
June 21, 2006 2:50:54 PM

I rarely find myself needing (or wanting) to use Windows any longer

I've even started selling pre-configured SuSE Linux boxes for clients that are often replacing pirated copies of windows that have crashed on them. So far I'm getting very positive feedback and much fewer technical questions than I thought. OpenSuSE 10.0 is pretty user friendly (once it's set up to play multiple media formats and plugins) (which is pretty easy)

DirectX? who cares, ever try XMoto on OpenGL? XMoto is superfun and with OpenSuSE 10.1 you plug in a Radeon card, install the OS with a checkbox on "enable 3D" and you're playing 3D games and even can easily install GoogleEarth and fly over your city/town, no driver issues if you stick to the default 3D driver. (the binaries from ATI I can't comment on, but the default opensource 3D drivers are very easy to use and are good enough for 3D games and GoogleEarth4 for linux)

For those that >have< to use windows programs, just reprogram your brain, or get off the windows drugs with a rehabilitation program.

Joe :wink:
a b 5 Linux
June 21, 2006 4:48:09 PM

For someone who seems to really enjoy using and telling others about Linux, I am surprised you suggest ATI products. Their binary drivers are improving, but still dismal to say the least.

Also, MESA in conjunction with the OSS ATI drivers are passable sure, but not nearly what the performance should be.

And while I won't disagree with you that there are great games for Linux (I personally love Chromium and Torcs), there are some instances where the game/genre isn't (yet) available in Linux natively.
June 22, 2006 2:19:42 AM

>For someone who seems to really enjoy using and telling others >about Linux, I am surprised you suggest ATI products. Their binary drivers are >improving, but still dismal to say the least.

Point taken, but with OpenSuse 10.1 you get OpenGL support using a Radeon chip with a click of a button. This is much better than the "old" mesa drivers. It's true that performance is better using ATI's drivers but for plug-and-play-openGL out of the box OpenSuSE 10.1's drivers work well. I was also impressed by the third-party RPM support for the extra media plugins (links found here):

>Also, MESA in conjunction with the OSS ATI drivers are passable sure, but not >nearly what the performance should be.

ATI is facing competitive pressure from Intel (don't laugh, they're apparently open-sourcing their 3D linux drivers for their integrated graphics chips which are actually getting pretty decent with DDR2 memory support) and NVidia (still binary as far as I know but there's the easy to use tiny-nvidia-installer which works really well). Things are improving very quickly.

>And while I won't disagree with you that there are great games for Linux (I >personally love Chromium and Torcs), there are some instances where the >game/genre isn't (yet) available in Linux natively.

Don't forget XLogical, my long-lost friend Neil Brown was the lead-developer for that game. The latest version of Torcs is very impressive. But yes, if you're a hard-core gamer you'd better stick to windows. Personally, I'm having a blast with XMoto and many other cool games that are free (free of spyware especially, last time I downloaded a free game for Windows it had spyware).

Microsoft includes it's own spyware with OEM windows, and if you're a real unlucky sucker and bought an HP/Compaq/ and especially Sony, you're donating your processor cycles to their affiliated scammers. My best advice is for Linux people to stick it to them and get the windows refund. You don't have to agree to the EULA, format windows before agreeing to the EULA (read it first) and get your windows refund ( microsoft lost a major court battle which entitles you to a windows refund if you format your windows before agreeing to the EULA )

Dell is one of the better companies out there and if you don't want windows and just want Linux you can get your windows refund cheque. (regardless of whether or not they support/offer or condone your preferred distribution of Linux)

Get your money back and give Microsoft the short-stick :)  Best news I've heard since the release of the Amiga 1200 / 4000 in 1991 with it's amazing 256000 colors in SVGA (18 bit) :)  LOL
June 24, 2006 12:26:03 AM

It hurts to read: "And although the flagship Linux image manipulation, called Gimp, does a great job of rendering professional quality images it still can't match the breadth and depth of functionality found in Adobe Photoshop or Jasc Paintshop Pro."
First of all, it's not Linux image ... It's GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) and not restricted to Linux only. M$-addicts can use it too with gtk libaries installed.
To say the GIMP is short on "...breadth and depth of functionality..." indicates that the author have yet to learn how to use the GIMP and especialy its many many plug-ins.

July 16, 2007 11:06:57 PM

i personaly hate linux and dont havee xp home cd i got one from microsoft but i had to burn it and it still dont boot fixing it but i hate it dont install ubuntu just virtual it so you dont do the same thing as me
July 17, 2007 12:26:06 AM

(trying to win the dumbest post award)

Where the heck is this said article? Interesting topic but I'd like to read the article and I didn't see a link in the this forum and I didn't see it on Tom's homepage (us version).

ps. Could be that i'm not used to the new look so don't flame on me too bad. It's not that I don't think I'm missing something--- I know I am