CrossOver review: The ‘Premium Wine’ for running Windows software on Linux


CrossOver lets you run Windows software on Linux, macOS, and ChromeOS.

It is not an emulation program. Instead, it provides a compatibility layer on top of your host operating system to allow running Windows software.

In other words, it adds components that Windows software needs to run on any supported operating system.

But does it work well? Can you run all Windows software using it? Is it a viable solution for you to ditch Windows for good?

Here I will share my experience with using CrossOver on Linux and share my experience with it.

What to know before using the cross compatibility tool

Although CrossOver makes it easier to run Windows software on platforms such as Linux, macOS, and ChromeOS, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Not all Windows software will work with CrossOver.
  • CrossOver is not a free and open-source solution.
  • CrossOver mainly uses open source components with some proprietary elements.
  • Spending on a CrossOver license indirectly funds the Proton development of Wine and Steam.
  • CrossOver is also considered a paid edition of Winewith some differences/improvements.

You can also watch his funny official video to learn more:

Related reading: Beginner’s Guide to Using Wine to Run Windows Programs on Linux

Getting started with CrossOver

As I mentioned above, CrossOver (affiliate link) is a paid tool that needs a license to work.

However, you can download it for free with a 14 day trial period. You can use all of its features without any restrictions. The app stops working after the trial, but the setup/installed software remains.

So if you like CrossOver during the trial period, you can purchase a license to continue using it.

Note that you must share an email address and name to initiate the download. In addition, you must create an account to proceed with its purchase.

Using CrossOver in Linux (one-click process)

Once you’ve installed CrossOver on Linux, you launch it to find something like this (depending on which version you’re trying, the UI might look a bit different):

Crossing 22

It provides you with a list of popular apps that are officially compatible with CrossOver. You can try a few or search for the apps you want.

If you’re looking to run a game, you might want to refer to our game guide for specialized tools for the task. Looking to install Epic Games? We have a dedicated guide to installing Epic Games on Linux.

cross search
Check note for compatibility

You may notice that there are certain ratings for each ad. While that doesn’t guarantee a flawless experience for everything, anything that works well with a 4-star rating and above can be a great option to try.

Some applications have not been tested. So you can try it for yourself and share a review to help other users.

You can search from within the app or use the compatibility database to find/review listed apps.

When you select a listed application, it displays the items it needs or explains the process to install it:

cross application information

You should carefully go through the information on the application screen before installing it. Do not worry ; it is usually a one-click install for supported apps.

All you have to do is follow the on-screen instructions.

For example, if you proceed with the installation of Steam, it will install the required fonts or whatever else is needed to configure it correctly:

cross details

Once you have installed the prerequisites and the app of your choice, you can run or configure it using some of the options available on the app screen as shown below:

cross steam application

If you’re new to CrossOver, you shouldn’t try to change anything unless the app isn’t working.

Using CrossOver with a configuration file

Overall, it’s easy to use CrossOver on Linux to run your favorite Windows software. However, not all compatible tools work the same way.

Here we have Notepadd++, a Windows exclusive application that can run with CrossOver.

notepad

It looks like a one-click process, but it’s not.

Unfortunately, it’s not always a one-click process. Sometimes, you need to manually download and locate the app installer, then you can proceed to install it.

notepad plus installer

For example, we had a problem downloading the Notepadd++ installer file using CrossOver. So, we have to head to its official website, download the .exe fileand click the “Choose the installation file” option.

notepad and installer selected

Once you select the installer, it will launch it to complete the setup. Follow the on-screen instructions to get started.

notepad plus plus crossover

We were able to run Notepadd++ 8.44 successfully on Linux:

notepad plus plus linux

For some tools like Microsoft Office, you need to have the official installer to set it up. Since you have a valid Office 365 license or subscription, downloading the installer shouldn’t be a problem. You can refer to Microsoft’s support article on how to get it.

In addition to the above usage, CrossOver also lets you try to install apps that are not listed.

To do this, you need to add a bottle manually (set up the Wine environment you want it to work with) and use the installer file to install it.

unlisted crossover

I recommend that you go through the official documentation to install an unlisted application. Some unlisted apps may or may not work, so this is still a trial process.

Is CrossOver worth buying?

CrossOver lets you use its product for a one-time fee ($24), including one year of software updates.

It gets a little cheaper with discounts like Black Friday or Cyber ​​Monday sales.

You can use the program as long as you want with a license. However, for an upgrade, you must renew the license (usually at a lower price than what you originally paid for the first year).

It doesn’t require you to subscribe, which is a good thing. If you rely on CrossOver for a lot of things (probably a professional job), you can get the “Lifetime” tool license and do not need to renew it.

It is to highlight that you indirectly contribute to the development of Wine and Proton with your purchase. So, getting a CrossOver license to run Windows software seems like a good deal. In fact, that’s the main reason I bought CrossOver a few months ago.

That being said, CrossOver isn’t perfect. With each update, they regularly add support for new apps. So always check its compatibility database before deciding to buy it.

If you don’t mind paying

Use Windows software on Linux with Crossover

Thousands of Windows games and programs to run on your favorite Linux distribution.

Supported Windows applications will run at native speed, play games at full fps while maintaining Linux OS integration. Simply magical!

Your purchase also supports the development of WINE.

Use Windows software on Linux with Crossover

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