Linux Emulator for Windows: Best We Tested in 2024

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ubuntulogo - linux on windows
Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to access the great development capabilities or the powerful command-line tools of Linux, without having to format your PC ? Running Linux on your PC can be achieved by either installing the Full Linux OS beside your Windows installation, or by using a virtual machine in order to run it. In case you choose to install the full Linux OS, the speed at which it will operate will be greater than if you used a virtual machine software. On the other hand, running Linux in a virtual machine software allows you to test any app or feature you want without worrying about your data’s safety or the possibility of data corruption. There is a wide range of Linux based operating systems on the market, and they are known as distros. Here are some of the most popular Linux distro options include:
  • Linux Mint – based on Ubuntu, designed to be easy to use, and also come with an utility called mint4win which allows you to install Linux on your PC without affecting your base system in any way.
  • OpenSUSE (Novell) and Fedora (Red Hat) – free and user-friendly Linux distros
  • Xandros Home Edition – designed for beginners with the ability to run Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, etc.
  • Ubuntu (Desktop edition) – great option for beginner Linux users, with great support for hardware devices, a 6 months release cycle, and you can also choose to make Ubuntu ship your installation DVDs for free across the globe
In this article, we will focus on the Ubuntu distro and see how you can use them on Windows. Read on to find out more.

4 tools to run Linux on your Windows PC

KNOPPIX: Run Linux from a USB stick or CD

knoppix - linux emulator

KNOPPIX is a great software that allows you to boot in Linux directly from a physical CD/DVD or USB flash drives.

This app contains a great set of GNU/Linux software options, can automatically detect your hardware capabilities, and offers support for a wide range of graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and also USB devices.

KNOPPIX can be used in order to run Linux on your desktop PC, and can also help you rescue your system in the case that Windows won’t start.

Using this software as a rescue tool allows you to extract all the data you need from your malfunctioning Windows PC, and store them in a secure environment, before reinstalling it.

Download KNOPPIX

— RELATED: Here’s how to fix Windows 10 Bootloader from Linux

WUBI: Install Linux as software

WUBI - install Linux on Windows

WUBI is a great tool that allows you to easily install Linux as a software on your Windows PC. Using this technique allows for greater processing speeds and it can be uninstalled in the same way that you would uninstall a normal Windows application.

It’s incredibly easy to set up and start installing, all you need to do is choose the right options for your system, and then click install.

Download WUBI

Another way to run a Linux based OS on your Windows PC is by using a virtual machine software. We’ll list some of the best tools below.

Virtual machines for running Linux on Windows PCs

Virtual Box

VirtualBox - for running Linux on Windows

VirtualBox is a great software option that allows you to create virtual Linux machines and run them in a window from your Windows desktop. This app is based on a x86 architecture and supports AMD64/Intel64 virtualization.

This software can run on a variety of hosts – Linux, Mac, Windows, Solaris – and also has a large number of guest OS compatibility – all versions of Windows, Linux, etc.

Download Virtual Box


vmware - running linux on windows

VMware is another great virtualization software that allows you to create a virtual Linux OS on your PC with ease. This is a more simple alternative than having to install a full Linux OS, but offer a slower perfomance.

You can create multiple virtual machines with as many OS options as you want. There are no limits to the number of virtual machines that you can create, but this feature is limited only by your hardware’s capacity to deal with the request.

You can find a good guide explaining how to use VMware to run Linux on your PC. If you want to run your installation from a CD, click here.  If you want to run the installation from an virtual image file (.bin, .iso), you can reffer to this page.

Download VMware


In this article, we listed some of the best Linux based operating systems and then we talked about the most efficient way to run them on your PC.

We would love to know which solution you chose and how it worked out for you. Feel free to comment below.


More about the topics: Linux, windows 10