Running PowerGREP on Linux Using Wine

While there is no native Linux version of PowerGREP, it is perfectly possible to run the Windows version of PowerGREP on Linux using Wine. Wine is an application designed to run Windows applications on Linux. Aside from a few very minor glitches, this works just fine. Wine is free software and does not require you to have a license to Microsoft Windows.

First, Wine needs to be installed on your Linux computer. Most Linux distributions include Wine as an optional package that can be installed via the system’s package manager or app store. If your Linux distribution does not include Wine, go to to download it.

Once Wine is installed, use the web browser on your Linux computer to download PowerGREP. If your browser asks you whether you want to open or run the file with Wine or save the file, select to save the file. Open a terminal screen, cd to your download directory, and enter: wine SetupPowerGREPDemo.exe (change .exe file name to what you actually downloaded). PowerGREP’s installer will pop up. Click the no-questions-asked button for a quick install.

To start PowerGREP, double-click the PowerGREP icon that the installer placed on your desktop. If there’s no desktop shortcut, type wine “c:\Program Files\Just Great Software\PowerGREP 5\PowerGREP5.exe” in a terminal screen (assuming you used the default installation folder).

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Configuring PowerGREP 5 for Linux

The first time you run PowerGREP 5 on Linux, you should adjust some preferences to work around a few limitations of Wine.

Though Wine includes the most common Windows fonts, the fonts available on Linux aren’t the same as those available on Windows. In the Action section in the Preferences, click the Configure Text Layout button. Delete the 4 predefined “complex script” layouts. Those rely on Uniscribe, which Wine doesn’t emulate. Selects fonts that you like for the other 4 layouts. The text layout configuration screen is where you set default fonts. You can select a different default text layout in the Action, Results, Editor, and General sections in the Preferences. In the General section, you can also select the font used by the Assistant panel.

In the File Selector section in the Preferences, click the (...) button next to the “default file format configuration” drop-down list. Select the “Proprietary formats” configuration in the left-hand list. Select “Windows Media Audio” in the right hand list. Tick “always exclude files of this type”. Repeat this for all the other configurations in the left-hand list. Finally, select the configuration you want as the default and click OK.

Still in the File Selector section in the Preferences, click the (...) button next to “text encodings to read files with”. Select “specific auto detection” in the left hand list. Select the encoding most of your files use in the left-hand side of the dialog. This will probably be UTF-8 or ISO-8859-1 rather than Windows 1252. Do the same for each file format in the right hand list. Also do this for the “generic auto detection” configuration.

Glitches Running PowerGREP with Wine

I tested PowerGREP 5 on a 64-bit Ubuntu 16.4 installation that was clean other than having installed the Wine package using sudo apt-get install wine. After downloading with Firefox and choosing to run the download with Wine when prompted, the installer came up automatically and the no-questions-asked option went off without a hitch. PowerGREP 5 itself also runs just fine.

Older versions of Wine caused the 64-bit version of PowerGREP to crash due to bugs in Wine. These appear to be fixed in the version of Wine included with Ubuntu 16.4 as 64-bit PowerGREP is perfectly stable on it. If you have an older version of Wine, you can run the installer with wine SetupPowerGREPDemo.exe /32 to force it to install the 32-bit version.

On Windows, PowerGREP 5 uses Uniscribe to intelligently handle editing of text using right-to-left scripts like Hebrew and Arabic as well as complex scripts like the Indic scripts. Wine emulates Uniscribe but does not actually implement the intelligent handling of right-to-left and complex scripts that Uniscribe is used for. So you won’t get any errors when using a complex script text layout in PowerGREP 5 running on Wine. But you won’t get the text editing experience you’d expect either.

PowerGREP relies on the Windows API to extract meta tags from WMA (Windows Media Audio) files. Wine’s version of these cause PowerGREP to stall during the search. So you need to disable this file format, as described above.

The first time you open the About box or the first time the trial version of PowerGREP displays a trial message, the about box or the message may be missing the PowerGREP icon and logo. The second time any of these windows are shown, they appear correctly, if not as pretty as on Windows. It looks like Wine’s implementation of GDI+ has some bugs, and can’t do anti-aliasing.

PowerGREP includes a help file in .chm format. Wine can display this help file, but doesn’t always. The same text is available as an online user’s guide.