The annoying FAQ of detecting Wine

David Gerard dgerard at
Sat Jul 3 12:54:08 CDT 2010

Unfortunately, this is a FAQ, so I've added it. I based the answer on
the last time this came around on wine-users; I'm not a developer, so
please sanity-check what I wrote! Hopefully this will be useful in
dealing with the actual problems people think they can solve by doing

8.6. I write a Windows app. How can it detect if it's running under Wine?

This is a bad idea. The goal of Wine is that an application will be
unable to tell it's running under Wine rather than Windows. So any
method to detect running under Wine is unsupported and may break
without warning in the future. Wine should not be treated as a
"version" of Windows - functionality or performance-tuning is likely
to be different between any two development versions.

Rather than detecting Wine:

* Detect if functionality exists and use it when available.
* File a bug if something works in Windows that does not work in Wine.
* Ask for help on the developers' list.

That said: if you really want to detect Wine, try, e.g., running a
native binary or syscall (AppArmor or SELinux may block this), reading
the environment, accessing a function (e.g ntdll.get_wine_version() )
or registry key only found in Wine. Any of these may break at any

Asking the user directly if they are running the app under Wine will
be more reliable than trying to automatically detect it.

- d.

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