Chapter 7. Using the Bottle Manager

The Bottle Manager is the main tool for configuring CrossOver. You can access it from the ToolsManage Bottles… menu. It can also be run from the command-line like this:

$ ~/cxoffice/bin/cxsetup

Managing Bottles

A bottle is a virtual Windows environment. Each bottle contains a unique C: drive and all its standard folders: Windows, Program Files, etc. A bottle also contains a complete Windows registry, a full set of most CrossOver settings, and one or more Windows applications.

CrossOver Linux allows you to maintain multiple bottles in one CrossOver installation. This is like having several different Windows machines operating together on your computer. This is useful any time you want to install multiple applications yet prevent them from interacting with or damaging one another. For instance you could test out a new version of Microsoft Office in one bottle while keeping an older one for your day to day needs in another bottle.

Multiple bottles are also useful whenever a particular application requires special system settings that are otherwise undesirable. It is also possible to maintain bottles that emulate different Windows versions. For instance you could run an ancient application that runs best in a Windows 98 bottle side by side with more modern ones that require a Windows XP bottle.

The bottle manager allows you to create, delete, and modify the bottles in your CrossOver install. For the most part, the CrossOver Software Installer will take care of creating appropriate bottles, but this dialog provides more direct control.

Add This button creates a new bottle. You will have an opportunity to choose which Windows version the bottle emulates.

Remove This button deletes the selected bottle after asking for confirmation. Note that this removes all the Windows applications, settings, and documents that are inside this bottle.

Add From Archive….  This button lets you pick a bottle archive created with the Make Archive… button, and restores it so it can be used again. This also lets you pick the name of the newly restored bottle.

Add Duplicate….  This button allows you to create a duplicate of an existing bottle. The duplicate will contain the same applications and settings as the original.

Open C: Drive.  This button opens a new file manager window displaying the contents of the current bottle's C: drive.

Bottle Windows versions

Most bottle settings can be adjusted once a bottle is created. The Windows version of a bottle, however, must be chosen when the bottle is created.

When creating a new bottle to install a known Windows application CrossOver's Software Installer automatically picks the most appropriate Windows version. But if you are creating a bottle by hand you must pick one yourself.

Most supported applications run best when emulating Windows XP. When installing unsupported applications, a good starting point is to pick whichever of Windows 98, Windows XP or Windows Vista was most current when the application was released. If the first try does not yield good results, your best guess is with one of the other versions in this list as the other versions usually yield the same results as one of these.

Bottle modes

CrossOver Linux supports bottles of two types: private and published. A given installation of CrossOver may make use of both bottle types at once.

Private bottles.  A private bottle is used by a single user, and is generally placed in that user's home account. Applications installed in a private bottle are unavailable for use by other users on a system. New bottles are always created in private mode.

Published bottles.  Published bottles are created within the CrossOver subdirectory, and can be used by all the users on a system. Applications in a published bottle can be run by any user, and each user is able to configure and customize existing applications.

Published bottles save space and time by requiring only a single installation of each Windows application. However, some applications require specific CrossOver configuration options to work in that mode, and may perform erratically if those are missing.

When a user accesses a published bottle, a 'stub bottle' will be created in their home account. Stub bottles contain a user's custom alterations to the bottle, and contain symbolic links that refer to most large files and directories in the published bottle. A stub bottle has the same name as the published bottle to which it refers.


Published bottles are created using the Publish… button.

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