How to install MS Money 2004 on 64-bit Linux

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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.

  1. Fool wine to think this is a 32-bit system by running this command:
    • export WINEARCH=win32
  2. Install wine. On Ubuntu, this is as simple as starting the Software Center, searching for “wine”, and installing “Microsoft Windows Compatibility Layer (meta-package)“.
  3. 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
  4. Visit this page on OldVersion.com and click the button to download IE6, and save the file to “/home/torben/.cache/winetricks/ie6”.
  5. Run winetricks using the command:
    sh winetricks
  6. Choose “Install a font” and click OK.
  7. 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.)
  8. Choose “Select the default wineprefix” and click OK.
  9. Choose “Install a Windows DDL or component” and click OK.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Follow the installation steps just like you’re used to from Windows.
  13. 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!
  14. 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.
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