Working with bottles

Whenever you install a Windows application using CrossOver, CrossOver creates a virtual Windows environment which it uses to run your application. These virtual Windows environments are called bottles.

You do not need to know anything about bottles to perform simple actions with CrossOver. You can install and run Windows applications without knowing how CrossOver uses bottles.

CrossOver has tools which you can use to manage your bottles if you want more fine-grained control over your virtual windows environments. To begin working with bottles using CrossOver, you can reveal the bottles sidebar by clicking on the bottles button in the window bar of the CrossOver main window.

The bottles sidebar reveals a list of virtual windows environments which CrossOver can use. By default, CrossOver creates a new bottle any time you use the CrossOver Software Installer to install a Windows application from CrossOver's list of known software.

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

CrossOver 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 sidebar allows you to create, delete, and modify the bottles in your CrossOver install. In many cases, the CrossOver Software Installer will create the bottles you need automatically. The features available in the bottle action menu give you more direct control if you need it.

Adding and removing bottles

You can add a new bottle of your own by clicking the button labeled with a plus sign ('+') symbol in the bottles sidebar.

When you add a bottle you can give it a name and set a "Bottle Type" for the bottle. The bottle type specifies the version of the Windows API which CrossOver will emulate in the new bottle. The "Windows XP" bottle type is the default and is usually the best choice. If you are experimenting with your own application and it does not run when you install it in a "Windows XP" bottle type, it may be worth experimenting with other types.

You can remove a bottle from your computer by using the button labeled with a minus sign ('-') at the bottom of the bottle sidebar in CrossOver's main window. This is one way to uninstall a Windows application which you have previously installed with the CrossOver Software Installer.

If you chose to delete a bottle, it is important to remember that a bottle is an entire virtual Windows environment. It can include both the applications you have installed and also your own data. Deleting a bottle will remove it from your computer permanently. Be sure you have saved any data you need before you chose to delete a bottle.

Using the bottle action menu

Clicking the gear-shaped icon at the bottom of the bottle sidebar reveals an action menu, pictured below, which operates on the selected bottle.

The bottle action menu allows you to manipulate the selected bottle with the following actions:

Rename.  Rename the selected bottle.

Open C: Drive.  Open a Finder window displaying the contents of the current bottle's C: drive.

Reset Default Web Browser to Mac Browser.  When a Windows application running in the selected bottle makes a request to open a URL in a web browser, use the default native OS X browser to handle the request. (Otherwise, in some circumstances, a Windows browser running under CrossOver may be used to open the URL.)

Export Bottle to Archive….  Create an archive of the selected bottle.

Publish Bottle….  This command is discussed in the advanced options section of this user guide.

Settings

  • Default Bottle.  Check this to make the selected bottle the default bottle. The default bottle is displayed in boldface in the bottle list. It is used to handle files and documents that are passed to CrossOver directly without any indication about which bottle should be used.

  • Use Legacy X Window System.  Prior to CrossOver 12.5.0, CrossOver used a technology called the X Window System to control input such as keyboard and mouse movement, as well as output such as drawing windows and images to the screen. CrossOver no longer uses this technology by default, so the Legacy X Window System is disabled by default. Use this setting to enable it for the selected bottle.

  • Performance Enhanced Graphics.  Beginning with CrossOver 13, CrossOver includes a feature which should enhance performance for 3D games in most situations. This feature is enabled by default. Use this setting to disable it for the selected bottle.

Install Software Into….  Use the CrossOver Software Installer to install software into the selected bottle.

Run Command….  Run a command in the selected bottle using the Run Command dialog.

Quit.  Close all Windows applications which are currently running in the selected bottle.

Force Quit.  If you have already tried to quit the bottle and failed, selecting Force Quit should allow you to stop any processes which are still running inside the bottle. Using this option may result in lost work if you have unsaved changes.

Using Control Panels

When you have selected a bottle in the CrossOver Main Window, a new section appears in the main window labeled "Control Panels." This section contains icons for control panels available for the selected bottle. You can launch any one of these control panels by double-clicking its icon.

[Tip]

The vast majority of settings on your system should be changed using the configuration tools that come packaged with your OS and distribution. Most Windows control panels are unsupported applications, and their behavior may be unreliable, erratic, or destructive.

In addition to the tools that are installed by software installers, CrossOver provides several built-in control panel tools.

Game Controllers.  This tool allows you to configure game controllers or joysticks.

Internet Settings.  This tool provides access to certain network-related configuration.

Simulate Reboot.  Some Windows applications require a system reboot to complete certain tasks. Also, occasionally, Windows programs get stuck in indeterminate states where their behavior is erratic or unreliable. Both of these problems can be addressed without rebooting your system -- just launch the reboot tool and simulate a reboot within a specific bottle.

Task Manager.  The task manager will display a list of processes running within a bottle. This tool may be useful to selectively halt programs which have stopped responding.

Wine Configuration.  This tool provides access to a wide range of bottle configuration settings. This tool is occasionally useful for solving issues with system integration -- if you contact tech support, you may be instructed to make changes with it.

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