Run Windows Apps from your Existing Windows Partition in Linux



I saw a post this morning showing you can run Windows applications from a virtual Windows install on your Linux Desktop. Although this may seem like it’s not that big of a deal, anyone who virtualizes another OS such as Windows from within VMware knows it can sometimes be a hassle to switch between your Linux desktop and the Windows one since you only have access to application windows within each OS and your Guest OS is limited to running within the VMware window. The advantage of integrating the guest OS into your existing desktop allows you to easily switch between different applications and use applications side by side regardless of what OS they are on. As you can see in the pic above (click to enlarge), this method gives you access to the StartMenu from your Linux desktop as well as placing guest OS applications in the Gnome panel. The original website provided a method that needed some modification to work for me. Additionally, the following guide will show you how to safely set this up on an existing Windows partition.

  • If you already have a dual boot machine with an existing install of Windows XP, follow the guide here on how to run it in VMware.
  • Once you have VMware setup properly, boot into Windows from VMware and go in and create a new user for Windows in Control Panel>>Users. I assigned the username “Linux” for this user. Make sure you also assign a password for security purposes. The reason you should create a new user is that you will be disabling the desktop for this user rather than the user that you normally log into Windows with.
  • Now go to Start>>Control Panel>>System>>Remote Tab and enable “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer”.
  • Now go to Start>>Run and type”regedit” to bring up the registry editor. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/Policies/Explorer and right click to create a new DWORD value. Name the DWORD value NoDesktop and give it a value of 1.
  • Download SeamlessRDP and extract it to C:\seamlessrdp.
  • Go to Start>>Run and type in in “cmd”. In the command prompt, type ipconfig and note the first IP it reports, this is the IP of your virtual machine.
  • Now you can log out of Windows.
  • Whenever you want to run the virtual machine and enable Windows applications on your desktop, you will need to type the following command in the terminal:

rdesktop -A -s "c:\seamlessrdp\seamlessrdpshell.exe c:\windows\explorer.exe" IPAddress -u username -p password

Remember to replace IPAddress with the virtual machine’s IP and the username and password with the username and password of the new Windows user you just created. Note that VMware must be running and the virtual machine needs to be booted and at the Windows login screen when you run this command.

That’s all you need to get it working. You will see the start menu at the bottom of the screen. Right click and deselect “Lock the Taskbar” and move it somewhere else (i.e. left of screen).


To make the process easier, you can create the following script and place an icon in the gnome panel or your desktop instead of typing out the command each time:

  • Paste the following code in a text editor (change IPAddress & username but not password, for obvious security reasons) and save it as

read -s -p "Enter Password: " mypassword
rdesktop -A -s "c:\seamlessrdp\seamlessrdpshell.exe c:\windows\explorer.exe" IPAddress -u username -p $mypassword

  • Make the script executable by typing the following code in the terminal:

chmod -x

  • Run VMware and boot Windows. Once you are at the login screen, run this script and you will be prompted for the password. You should now see the Windows start menu.

17 Responses to “Run Windows Apps from your Existing Windows Partition in Linux”

  1. 1 john


    do you know if this works in vista. im not sure if the reg setting the same.


  2. Not sure if it runs in Vista since I don’t run Vista but I imagine if you got Vista dual booting and virtualizing properly it would likely work.

  3. 3 StevenEpic

    i;m having problems with this :S seems like it is locking me out or something. take a look at this, send me an IM if you can đŸ˜€

  4. Are you running VMware as root? Make sure you run it using gksudo

  5. 5 AnĂ³nimo

    I could not run Vista under Linux. A blue screen of death appeared, but VMWare rebooted too fast. I followed your guide to run it in VMWare.

    If I use the “partitions” it says at run that the partition table is invalid.
    If I use the “entire disk” it begin running, but the BSOD appears and reboot.

    I’ve tried it as root and as normal user.

    However, this guide is pretty good. I installed WinXP Pro in a virtual HD and works. I can access by RDP. The problem is that I would like to run the physical partition, not the virtual HD.

    I uploaded the vmware.log at divshare here:

    My .xsession-errors shows nothing related.

    My Windows Vista Home Basic is legal. It came preinstalled with my Dell Vostro 200.

    Please, give me a tip if you can.

  6. Anonimo, when the BSOD occurs, try taking a screen capture really quick and looking at what the error message is. You can post it here or Google the error. I have a feeling it has to do with SCSI drivers as outlined in this post:

  7. 7 AnĂ³nimo

    Hi again!

    The BSOD does not appear now, but it still does not boot. It just turn into a black screen.

    I can see GRUB. I select Windows and the black screen occurres.

    I have read Vista Home can not be virtualized. ¿Is there a wrap around?

    My PC has a SATA RAID. If I set it in the CMOS as “IDE”, then I can boot Windows Vista but not Ubuntu. If I set it to “RAID”, then Ubuntu starts, but not Vista.

    I run Ubuntu Feisty with the RAID on. Then I launch VMWare Server to run Vista, but it does not boot. Can this be the problem?

  8. 8 Marc


    This is simply awesome. I have been looking for this for so long.

    But I still have 2 questions:

    1- Would it be possible for windows (under vmware) boots when Im booting linux?

    2- When I run your program to have the start menu out of windows, what it does is simply opening a new large blue window in which all I see is blue, but I can still press the “windows button” to access the start menu. And I cannot take drag the windows created inside the “blue window”.

    Any help?


  9. 9 Rasmus

    Hey Mohammad!

    First of all, thank you for some excellent beginners guides, easy to understand and follow! đŸ™‚

    I’ve unfortunately got the same problem as Marc. When I enter the code in a terminal and hit enter, I get a window named “rdesktop” – and then the IP Address. The window is all blue, and the start button is only available with the WinKey. I can open applications e.g. MS Word, but it dosen’t integrate as it do on your screenshot. Actually, it’s just like a new VMware window.

    Do you have any suggestions to solve the problem?

    Grettings, Rasmus

  10. 10 ENavarro

    The BSOD could probably be that even if you have both profiles under winxp (virtual and physical) you still have drivers and other stuff loading that would cause a BSOD on virtual HW. Remove any sync tools, extra drivers or other startup software. You can use msconfig to notice what is loading. Another tip is to check the dll name of the BSOD to check what is causing it (sometimes ethernet, or whatever).

  11. Well, a bit late, it appears, but thanks for the linky at the top and introducing me to VirtualBox. That was the easiest virtualisation process ever.

  12. 12 Paul de Lange

    This method works for Vista.

    I am using openSUSE 10.3 as a host to an existing Vista setup. The only problem is the Vista guest runs so slowly for me(even with 3.3GB RAM allocated to VMplayer!!).

    If someone knows a ‘magic’ command or something to speeding things up then I would be very interested. Oh I already tried:

    > GO FASTER #!#%$ VISTA

    but it didn’t work…

    I think my next attempt will be something like:


  13. 13 konq_runner

    Works pretty nice – with one glitch, though:

    When I try Explorer.exe (or any other program for that matter) with SeamlessRDP, I always get the GNOME window decoration around it – on top of the normal Windows one.

    How did you get your apps to show with the Windows-design only (like in your screenshot) ..?

    My version: Ubuntu 8.10 (GNOME 2.24.1) with the binary Nvidia driver activated (- which should have nothing to do with the window decoration… -)

    I know a possible workaround for KDE, where you can tell a specific window not to have a decoration at all – but I can’t find anything similar in GNOME.

    Where’s the catch?

    TIA for your assistance.

    Kind regards,


  14. 14 viy

    Works perfectly for me. Thanks.

    Does anyone know is there any dangerous to have NTFS Windows partition mounted for read and write operation in Linux at the same time when the XP works in VMware from the same partition?

    Thanks in advance.

  15. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. đŸ™‚ Cheers! Sandra. R.

  1. 1 It’s all in a day’s work » Blog Archive » Using VMware player for testing Internet Explorer on Ubuntu
  2. 2 Computer Learning Center » Blog Archive » How to run Windows applications from a virtual Windows install on Linux

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: