Do you run Linux? Do you miss MS Money, the personal-finance application? I can answer yes to both questions, but I’ve found a solution. It’s possible to run Windows software on Linux, but sometimes it’s tricky.
This is a guide to overcome those traps. Perhaps I’m the only one to ever benefit from this installation guide, but there’s a slim chance that others might benefit too, so I’ll publish this instead of keeping it for myself.
I am assuming that you use a modern computer, so you’ve installed Ubuntu (or some other Linux variant) in the 64-bit version. This is an important distinction because some things only work on 32-bit versions … unless you find a way to fool that software.
WINE is an ingenious piece of Linux software that makes it possible to run Windows applications directly in Linux. Of course you could install a virtual machine in Linux, and then have that virtual machine run WinXP, and then run MS Money on that WinXP virtual machine. But it’s tedious – especially when a much more elegant solution exists: run the Windows app directly in Linux, using WINE.
Enough introduction! Here is a step-by-step guide that is valid as per February 2014.
The only prerequisite is that you have a copy of MS Money 2004 UK or a similar version. I can’t give you this; that would be piracy. Note that other versions might have slightly different requirements, but I hope the following steps still work for you! The WineHQ website has a list of MS Money versions that work to a varying degree. “Gold” and “Platinum” ratings are obviously preferable.
- Fool wine to think this is a 32-bit system by running this command:
- export WINEARCH=win32
- Install wine. On Ubuntu, this is as simple as starting the Software Center, searching for “wine”, and installing “Microsoft Windows Compatibility Layer (meta-package)“.
- Open a terminal window. By default, you will be in your home directory (for me, that would be “/home/torben/”). Be sure to replace “torben” with your Linux username! Then run these commands:
- cd ~
- wget http://winetricks.org/winetricks
- mkdir /home/torben/.cache/winetricks/msxml3
- cd /home/torben/.cache/winetricks/msxml3
- wget http://download.cnet.com/Microsoft-XML-Parser-MSXML-3-0-Service-Pack-7-SP7/3000-7241_4-10731613.html
- mkdir /home/torben/.cache/winetricks/ie6
- Visit this page on OldVersion.com and click the button to download IE6, and save the file to “/home/torben/.cache/winetricks/ie6”.
- Run winetricks using the command:
- Choose “Install a font” and click OK.
- Choose “corefonts” and click OK. The fonts will be now be installed.
- (I can’t remember exactly how it went now: you might need to start “sh winetricks” again at this point, or it might stay open. It’s not hard, I’m sure you can figure it out.)
- Choose “Select the default wineprefix” and click OK.
- Choose “Install a Windows DDL or component” and click OK.
- Check thecheckboxes for “ie6” and “msxml3”, then click OK. This software will now be installed.
- Because you have already downloaded the components in step 3 above, this step should go smoothly. If winetricks can’t find these components, it will show you a message about how to download the components. Follow the instructions and then repeat from step 8 above.
- Finally! Your system is now ready to install the actual application.
- Use a file manager to navigate to the path where your MS Money installation files are, and double-click on setup.exe. Because you’ve installed wine, Linux knows that an “EXE” file is a Windows program that can be run, and it will use wine to run it.
- Follow the installation steps just like you’re used to from Windows.
- Your Linux system should now be aware of MS Money. At least in Ubuntu’s Unity I can simply type “money” to filter the applications and I see MS Money listed. I can click on that — and Money starts!
- When starting MS Money for the first time, it will ask you a few things. When it asks, “do you have an Internet connection,” answer “no” to avoid online content that will be useless and outdated anyway. Also say “no” to using a password on your Money file.