Walkthrough/Tips for troubleshooting - PlayOnLinux (POL) - running Windows applications easier than plain vanilla Wine

I see few POL questions on the forum but here is some information in the hope that it may still be of some use. POL is a powerful GUI application that does just about everything that plain vanilla Wine can do. I wrote "just about" because I haven't yet found anything yet that POL cannot do and I am not an expert on either POL or Wine. I prefer POL over Wine mostly because I find that I invariably use far fewer mouseclicks than keystrokes to implement the same solution. The following are from my own notes as I learned over time, so I have skipped parts I find self-explanatory.

  1. Quick installation of a Windows application: Install -> Install a non-listed program -> Click next until asked for a drive -> Enter drive name -> Keep clicking next until you get the Browse button -> Browse to your installer file and click Next -> Close the installer window once it is done and POL asks you if you want to create shortcuts -> Once you're done, you can run your Windows application. The vast majority of Windows programs run with these simple steps, at times you may have to switch between choosing 32 bit or 64 bit virtual drive creation but usually 32 bit gets them going. You will know when you try to run the application and POL gives a crash message and tells you that you're trying to run a 64 bit application.

  2. Debugging: If you get crashes, this is what you want to use. Select your application shortcut shown in POL's right pane and from left pane select Debug. This logs processes so you know what is happening when a crash happens. Usually you're looking for messages showing "err" - copy and websearch the text that follows "err". Some times you may not get any "err" messages and may just have to websearch the last few terms from the Debug window.

  3. Console: Tools -> POL Console. I've only used this for one or two commands, which I mention later in this document.

  4. Installing different Wine versions: Tools -> Manage Wine versions. Then select these by Configure -> General -> Wine version. This is a very useful feature if applications are picky about what Wine version they prefer running on.

  5. Adding extra arguments after a command: DOS command options after executables, such as: "<game.exe> /window -novideo" can be run by Configure -> Select Application -> General tab -> Arguments. Here just enter the option such as "/window -novideo" (Wine equivalent is "wine <game.exe> ").

  6. Compatibility mode: Configure -> Select Drive -> Wine tab -> Configure Wine -> Applications tab -> Windows version. For those older applications that want Windows XP, 98, etc.

  7. Mounting drives: Configure -> Select Drive -> Wine tab -> Configure Wine -> Drives tab (can even mount folders). At times, an installer may decide not to recognize your disc in the drive. You may have to either copy the contents to a folder or make an image of the disc and see if GCDEmu mounting fixes the problem. Various combinations of troubleshooting are recommended below which are worth a try. Some methods to try in POL for multiple installation discs if you get a picky installer program:
    i. Extract all discs into a folder and use brasero to make it a single disc image.
    ii. When setup asks for next disc, mount it. Then in setup, click cancel. It may ask you if you want to exit or resume. Click resume. It will now recognize next disc.
    iii. If an installer doesn't run, create a shortcut to it using POL and then launch it again from that shortcut.
    iv. Check all .ini files for configurations related to disks.
    v. Copy drive 2 files to drive 1 when installer asks for drive 2.
    vi. Copy consolidated files to a folder in Program Files on the virtual drive and then install.

  8. Library overrides: This is when you need different versions of DirectX, DXVK (websearch that), MS Core Fonts (typically for MS games), Physx (even if you run Physx with the packages installer, you may still have to install it using POL), etc. Configure -> Select Drive -> Install components tab and select override you wish to install. After installation, some of these should show up on Configure -> Select Drive -> Wine tab -> Configure Wine -> Libraries tab (directx files will, others may not).
    Note: If Core Fonts do not install, try either of the following:
    i. sudo apt install ttf-mscorefonts-installer
    cp /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/* ~/.PlayOnLinux/wineprefix//drive_c/windows/Fonts
    sudo apt purge ttf-mscorefonts-installer
    ii. winetricks allfonts

  9. Registry editor: Self-explanatory.

  10. DOS command prompt: Configure -> Wine. Yes, this is the good old DOS prompt and can be used for any DOS commands you wish to run, such as for older games. I think I may have run DOSbox games with it too but I can't remember for sure if it was this or if I already had DOSbox installed.

  11. Graphics issues:
    i. If game runs but you can only hear sound while seeing the desktop: Configure -> Wine -> Configure Wine -> Graphics tab -> Uncheck both 'allow window manager to decorate' as well as 'control the window' boxes.
    ii. Windowed mode: Configure -> Wine -> Configure Wine -> Graphics tab -> Emulate a virtual desktop.

  12. Setting environment variables in POL (usually for graphics issues) by editing the shortcut:

Example: shortcuts not launching:
a. Debug to confirm that error is 'X Error of failed request: GLXBadFBConfig' - this is Mesa hindering OpenGL launch
b. Tools -> POL console
c. POL_Shortcut_InsertBeforeWine "shortcutname" 'environment variable'
d. examples:
i. POL_Shortcut_InsertBeforeWine "Fallout 3" 'export MESA_GL_VERSION_OVERRIDE=4.4'
ii. POL_Shortcut_InsertBeforeWine "Fallout 3" 'export LIBGL_ALWAYS_SOFTWARE=1'

Example: buffer overrun error on launch, try either of the following environment variables:
MESA_EXTENSION_MAX_YEAR=2008
or
__GL_ExtensionStringVersion=17700

Useful links and ease-of-understanding:
GamersOnLinux - breeze
Linux - WineHQ Forums - meh
The forum - PlayOnLinux - Run your Windows applications on Linux easily! - painful

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