I have two OS installed on my PC. Ubuntu and Windows. I need, sometimes, to use windows to open some files but I need to restart my computer to access windows, because I use Ubuntu as my primary OS.

Is there any option to access the windows installed on my computer with a software, directly from my Ubuntu?

Thank you all!

  • 2
    You need to access files or actually run a specific software that only exists in windows? – nsn Jun 9 '15 at 14:58
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    The answers that this question is generating are all 'second best' options but that is only because of the way the question was asked. Because you haven't asked about a particular file type you are getting generalised answers (which roughly equates to 'emulate a Windows system' using either a VM or Wine based setup). If you would've mentioned exactly which type of files you are wanting to use in Linux you'd likely get much better answers which point to native software equivalents. – krowe2 Jun 9 '15 at 17:15

No absolutely no, but instead you can use some applications that run .exe files from inside Ubuntu, such as wine, playonlinux ....

The most known is wine.

you can install wine using the command:

sudo apt-get install wine

Once wine is installed you can create a Windows environment inside your Ubuntu so you can install and use some windows app inside.

Here you can find lits of apps that works with wine.

Another Option to use Virtual machines such as:

  • Xen
  • VBox
  • Qemu
  • VMWare

Here you can find a list of available virtual machines for Ubuntu.

  • 2
    In my experience Wine only works really well if it is used by an application that is designed to work with Wine, like Teamviewer. Other apps may work, but more often than not will not work properly or not at all. – SPRBRN Jun 9 '15 at 12:02
  • You can check the list of available apps for wine from the link above – Maythux Jun 9 '15 at 12:04
  • @SPRBRN Do you find any difference between installed and portable apps? – VRR Jun 9 '15 at 13:56
  • I see Photoshop in that list of available apps. Maybe it was my installation, or the version of Photoshop I used, but it really didn't work. I installed it, it did work at first, then it started to mess up the GUI and finally I ditched it after it refused to save files. And Photoshop isn't the only app that didn't work for me. I don't know of any difference between installed and portable apps, only tried installed apps. – SPRBRN Jun 9 '15 at 14:23
  • @SPRBRN Photoshop may be in a list up there, but you have to actually check test results and install workarounds - there's quite a few such applications where different versions need different workarounds. – Thomas Ward Jun 10 '15 at 12:09

If you have powerful hardware, consider using virtualization software such as VirtualBox to run Windows inside Linux, so that you can run Windows applications while you are inside Linux.

  • Thank you. Sure, VirtualBox is a good option, but I can't run the windows already installed on my computer. – MM PP Jun 9 '15 at 9:02
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    For personal and no-profit use I'd instead recommend VMWare Player which is much faster and in my opinion with better hardware support. – Daniel Jun 9 '15 at 9:03
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    Actually you can migrate an exisiting windows installation to a VM. I haven't done it personally. You can give a try by following link virtualbox.org/wiki/Migrate_Windows – Chandrasekar Jun 9 '15 at 10:12
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    a VM is definitely the best option, I prefere Qemu but it depends on a ton of things... wine and such is just a no no. – Vladimir Cravero Jun 9 '15 at 10:41
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    The Windows version already installed assumes that it has exclusive access to all hardware. Inside a virtual environment, Windows gets access to virtualized hardware. It still assumes it has exclusive access, but that's OK : the virtualized hardware is designed to work around that assumption. But it means that the Windows install differs in the hardware drivers needed, orat least the settings needed. – MSalters Jun 9 '15 at 11:14

If you want to just access the files stored on the windows part, you can use ntfs-3G to read he ntfs partition


First of all, what do you mean when you're saying "access to Windows"? If you want to run Win app under linux, you can try to install some virtualisation, like VMWare or Xen, and within Xen you can install Windows - but still - your hardware must be powerful enough.

If you really need some app which is not available in Linux - you shouldn't use Linux at all, however there is lot of free software which can be really good replacement of Win applications.

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    +1 Eventhough I'm not with you you shouldn't use Linux at all, since almost all apps have an open source alternative moreover he can use both if he really needs some app which is not found in linux at all – Maythux Jun 9 '15 at 15:51
  • I can easily give you an example: apps for raw developing. I am photography enthusiast and I've tried lots of different apps to develop RAW files - and nothing was as powerful and fast as some Windows apps (i mean Phase One CaptureOne which has only Win version). 2nd example - MS Office is the best - you can say whatever you want to say about OpenOffice - It's still not as powerful as MS Office, especially when you're power user of it and collaborating with other people with your docs - but I think it's not a topic for this community. – Paweł Wojtal Jun 11 '15 at 7:55

If your machine is powerful enough you could install something like VMware ESX as main OS, which is only host to other VMs. (I don't know if ESX is free or if you can get something similar for free.) You can then install Ubuntu and Windows next to each other and run both at the same time. This is done all the time in the cloud with AWS and Azure.

Still you need a tool like Remote Desktop or VNC to access one or the other OS. I don't know how it will work out on a desktop, and I don't think this is a good solution for you, more meant for big companies and cloud hosting. Virtualbox is the way to go.


VirtualBox allows to run a Windows OS guest on your Ubuntu host.

Moreover, it is even possible to boot the windows you have on another partition with virtualbox from witin your Ubuntu host.

For that, you need to tell virtualbox to use directly your hard-drive instead of using a virtual hdd VDI.

This is a little technical but it works perfectly fine.

Here is the link to virtualbox manual https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch09.html#idp97335088


You can access your windows partition from Ubuntu without booting to windows. You simply need to set the attributes to allow it to be shared. You can do this either from windows or from Ubuntu so long as you are the administrator when you do it.

Take a look for this link.

I have read that the Xbox One uses two different operating systems at the same time, so that tells me it is possible, but I could not tell you how. Maybe it uses DoubleDos.

You could virtualize your windows system so long as it is not the OEM version.

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