Run Windows Applications (EXE Files) on Android

If I had a dollar for the number of times someone asked how to run Windows Exe Files on Android, I would be richer than your top Bitcoin miners. Most of the time, my response would have simply been that it’s not possible, end of story. Well, that sort of changed this week.

If you are a Linux user, you have probably heard of Wine. The tl;dr is that Wine allows you to run Windows apps in Linux (it’s a Windows compatibility layer). There are obviously more technical details of its approach that you can read further about later, but that’s the general idea of the framework. Recently, Wine has released an android app that allows for this same Windows emulation on your Android device. So with Wine 3.0, you can run Windows Applications (Exe Files) on Android.


  • Wine for Android

You are likely using an ARM powered device, therefore, you are going to need to download the wine-3-arm.apk. Because you are using the ARM version, you will only be able to use Windows app designed for ARM. That restricts you to mainly Windows RT apps, however, XDA developers does have a nice list of apps re-compiled to ARM that you can try.

When you launch the Wine for Android, you will be at a desktop screen that looks a little like Windows.

Right now, you can’t resize any of the windows so you are stuck at their default size. This can get a little annoying when you have to deal with apps that are sized very small by default. In the start menu, you have an option for control panel and run. When you click on run, you can browse your phone’s storage for a Windows EXE file to run.

In my testing, I tried a couple of apps like Notepad++ and another simple Notepad editor. Neither of them worked, and one of them required Visual C++ for ARM to be installed. Although I was able to find the installer and run it, it ultimately failed to finish. In the end, I think Wine for Android is a cool thing that allows you to run Windows applications on Android, but it’s not ready for everyday use just yet. Still, it’s an amazing project and could be completely usable at some point in the future.