Stop Wine From Beating Your Windows Apps With The Ugly Stick

Applications running with Wine don’t have to look so appalling!

Ubuntu 8.04 is planned to have usability improvements for Wine, among these improvements is a theme for Wine applications that matches the GTK theme. Can’t wait until April?

The simplest way to theme Wine is to use the registry to change the colour scheme. Observe the difference between default Wine 0.9.46 and Wine with a Human colour scheme:

Wine colour schemes

Much better! You can install this colour scheme by pasting the contents of this text file into your ~/.wine/user.reg file.

A colour scheme is nice, but the widgets are still plain squares. It’s possible to get a look like this:

Wine Clearlooks theme

However, in the current Wine versions full theming is too slow to be usable. (You can watch it draw individual lines in slow motion.) If the Wine developers fix this in time for Ubuntu 8.04, a matching Wine theme will be used by default.

Still want to try it out anyways? Download the theme, extract the folder, and run winecfg. Go to the Desktop Integration tab and click Install theme. Load the msstyles file, and select Clearlooks in the Theme drop down box. If it’s so slow with the theme on that you can’t even turn it off, you can disable the theme by removing your ~/.wine/user.reg file.

Have any tips for improving the appearance of Wine applications with Linux? Leave a comment below.

Archived Comments


Way cool!!!


Now to fix those ugly, ugly fonts.

David Russell

To be honest I’d rather time was spent on making Wine work with more programs rather than making it use an Ubuntu-like theme.


I installed 3dCC (a Windows theming app) and matched the colors. It works well and I don’t have to install any buggy theme.


To fix the bad fonts, install msttcorefonts.
Warning: This will install them system wide, so the ms fonts will also show up in firefox.


The theme handling code is still very primitive, and using such a theme (in particular this Human theme) will make your Wine apps run 20 times slower.


I wouldn’t recommend using the Clearlooks theme. E.g. a softwae installation that usually takes like 2 minutes will take an hour with the theme loaded. Must be some bug with the handling of progress bars. Everything else seems to be fine, but whenever there is a progressbar it will start from the beginning over and over.


Have any tips for improving the appearance of Wine applications with Linux? Leave a comment below.

I think that at the hearth of wine there is the will to run something totally alien for a linux box. So wine is a great linux app, that can surely be more integrated with the rest of the environment; but wine apps are basically WINDOWS apps, so we would need an “human/clearlooks theme for windows” to install in wine, to let win apps look ““like”” (double quoting needed) linux ones.

Thanks for your writings, it’s always a pleasure



I just installed the theme and its not slowing anything, Notepad, filebrowser opened as usual.

Using the latest wine on Fedora 8 BTW :D *ducks*.


I pasted the color scheme info into ~/.wine/user.reg per the instructions. It worked great, and wine is now much easier on the eyes. I did not try the second step and go for the full theme. I figure I can wait for the next version of Ubuntu for that. There is no need to risk slowing things down when the color scheme solves 90% of the ugly issue.


Wrote about that at the end of 2006:

And go further in 2007 about an unique Ubuntu look including gnome, wine and QT apps:


Wow. Very, very nice. WINE put out another update today; I have them in my apt sources so I’m expecting it to show up in my tray within the next 24 hours. This is all so very exciting. Leaps and bounds of progress everywhere.

I only hope Ubuntu Hardy uses a less ugly theme. I hate colors with lower frequencies than green.
Color wheel based theming would be nice too.– like WMP and Live messenger, but system wide.
…I’d put this in ideapool, but my account seems to be broken.


cool thing!

but i guess it will take some more time before we can enjoy nice themeing

without the ugly grey look of windows as forced option for everyone


No, offense or anything, but I don’t see how it really looks better with the theme. It looks more Ubuntu-ish, but the colors are pretty dull either way.


Sorry, but u can change color scheme from Winecfg’s desktop integration tab.
I think this the easier way.
See ya

Sorin Nemes

The point is : I use wine and an XP theme named HmmXP - and all apps (Dreamweaver8, Fireforks8, XnView, etc) work at 110% speed, no drawbacks. I don’t feel any speed or power loss.

Jim - 406NotAcceptable

@ Sorin - the guide was written for Wine 0.9.46, back in Janurary. So with whatever version you are running now (probably 1.0) the performance will be better.

now on wine 1.1.4 I notice no difference when running Photoshop. This is great :D


The fonts are still terrible. I installed office 2003 on wine 1.1.4 and the fonts look so absobloodulutely horrendous.

They look like scrawny and sickly little imitations of the real fonts.

Anyway, nice guide :)


I just installed a clearlooks gummy theme in wine 1.0.1 and I don’t see any slowdown and the apps look great too.


dannybuntu, its because wine doesn’t smooth/antialias the fonts like the rest of the desktop does. something they should add though, though the theming engine is still a little buggy. one thing at a time, right?

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