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How to use Wine


Wine logo

Downloading and Installing Wine

The easiest way to download and install Wine is to download the pre-compiled builds of wine from PlayOnMac. Getting Wine this way saves you from having to install the Apple Developer Tools (around 4GB) and compiling Wine yourself (which takes quite a long time).

Look for the package with the largest number (e.g., 1.3.23); the list on the downloads page doesn't necessarily have the newest version of Wine at the top.

Go to the PlayOnMac download page

Once it's downloaded (the tar.gz file should be around 21MB), decompress the archive, rename the resulting folder to 'wine', and move it to your home folder (or wherever you like).

Wine should be usable now (just point to the 'wine' binary in Terminal.app), but there are a few things you can do to make using it a little easier.

Setting up Wine

Now that Wine is installed, you may need to do a few things in order to get Wine completely set up.

1. Make Wine accessible from any directory

This will make it so you can use Wine in any directory without having to specify its complete path. Here's an example of what I mean:


~/./wine/bin/wine ~/Downloads/WindowsProgram.exe


wine ~/Downloads/WindowsProgram.exe

Doesn't the second one look easier? It keeps us from having always to specify the path to the Wine binary (~/wine/bin/wine) whenever we want to use Wine.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Open Terminal.app
  2. Type open ~/.profile and press return. This should open a document in your default text editor (likely TextEdit.app)
    • If the file doesn't exist:
      1. Type open ~/.bash_profile and press return
      2. Add source ~/.profile to the end of that file
      3. In Terminal, type touch ~/.profile && open ~/.profile and press return
  3. Add the following lines to the end of the file, replacing [username] with your username:
      export PATH
    • Note: this could be put into .bash_profile, but I recommend keeping personal additions in .profile so that you can always delete the .profile file if something goes awry
  4. Save the file
  5. Quit and reopen Terminal.app
    • When it opens, Terminal checks .bash_profile and .profile for things like PATH variables, but won't know they're there unless you restart the application
  6. Type which wine and press return to test whether everything worked properly
    • This should return the same path that you specified in the .profile file
  7. That's it!

Now, whenever you type wine in the Terminal, it will know that you mean ~/wine/bin/wine. The same goes for all executables in that folder. If you want to configure Wine, for instance, all you have to do is enter winecfg in a Terminal window, and the Wine configuration window will open.

If you get an error when trying to run winecfg, read on:

2. Fix the 'failed to load libX11.6.dylib' error

Once you've installed Wine and added its binaries to your path, you might need to give your Terminal a little more information in order for it to be able to use Wine properly.

When running winecfg or using Wine some other way, you might come up with some of the following errors:

  • err:x11drv:process_attach failed to load libX11.6.dylib: dlopen(libX11.6.dylib, 266): image not found
  • Application tried to create a window, but no driver could be loaded.
  • Make sure that your X server is running and that $DISPLAY is set correctly.

Luckily, there's an easy fix:

  1. Open your .profile file (run open ~/.profile in Terminal)
  2. Enter the following into your .profile file:
  3. Save and close .profile
  4. Restart Terminal.app
  5. That's it!

How to configure Wine

That's easy: run winecfg in Terminal.

How to launch a program with Wine

The part we've all been waiting for! Here are the Terminal commands for Wine:

  • For an EXE file: wine Application.exe (you can drag-and-drop the file onto the Terminal window to get the path)
  • For an MSI file: wine start Installer.msi

Here's a video demonstrating how easy it is to install a Windows program on your Mac using Wine:

This video shows the installation process of Notepad++. Some applications don't need to be installed and run directly from the .EXE file.

For installed apps, you'd better know where they're installed if you want to use them again! Read on:

Where Wine files are stored

Wine files are stored in a hidden folder called .wine:


Hidden files and folders are hidden in OS X, so to open this folder in Finder, just use the open command in Terminal:

open ~/.wine # '~' is a shorcut for your home folder

Here you'll see some files and probably two folders, one called 'dosdevices' and the other called 'drive_c'. 'drive_c' is the C: drive in Windows, like 'Macintosh HD' on a Mac.

To get right to where the applications are installed, use this command:

open ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files

That will open the Windows 'Program Files' folder in Finder so you can browse your installed Windows programs.