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"Launcher" redirects here. For other uses, see Launcher (disambiguation).
Minecraft Launcher
Minecraft Launcher.png
Developers

Nathan Adams
Petr Mrázek

Platforms

WindowsmacOSLinux

Written in

TypeScript, ReactJS, C++[1]

Current version

Windows 2.2.3555
macOS 2.2.3557
Linux 2.2.3554

Download

Minecraft.net

The Minecraft Launcher is the game downloader and launcher for Minecraft: Java Edition and Minecraft Dungeons. It is available for Windows, macOS and Linux, but Minecraft Dungeons can only be played on Windows.

Features[]

The initial login screen.

On the initial login screen, users must log in with a pre-existing Microsoft account, Mojang Studios account, or legacy Minecraft account, otherwise they can create a new Microsoft account by clicking the link. Subsequent logins can be done in the "Settings" tab.

On the left side, a "News" tab, a tab for each game, and the launcher "Settings" tab can be seen.

The top left corner of the launcher contains the user's currently active account name. If a Microsoft account is used, this will be their Xbox Gamertag (which might differ from Minecraft: Java Edition username)[2], otherwise it will be their Java Edition username. By clicking on it, users can manage or log out of their active account, and see a "Help" page with various links to helpful sources.

Minecraft: Java Edition[]

The main "Play" section allows the user to download (if needed) and launch the game with the "Play" button, and also includes an installation selection on the left (which sorts installations by last played), the user's Java Edition username on the right, and a list of the latest news for the game from minecraft.net below.

  • One can launch multiple instances of the game by pressing the "Play" button whilst the game is running.
  • If the device is not connected to the internet, the game can be run in offline mode, but only if the game has been initially downloaded.
  • If the user isn't logged into an account that has purchased the game, the "Play" button will instead be a "Play demo" button which will launch the demo version of the game.

There is also a "Patch notes" section where the patch notes of the game's update can be seen, including the snapshots (if enabled).

Installations[]

Creating a new installation.

In the "Installations" section, Custom installations can be created and edited. There are buttons to sort and search installations, as well as checkboxes to enable installations with "Releases", "Snapshot", and "Modded" versions of the game. Installations are stored in launcher_profiles.json in the game's directory (.minecraft).

By default, there are installations for the "Latest release" and for "Latest snapshot" (if enabled), both of which the game versions cannot be changed. A new installation can be created by clicking the "New installation" button and an existing installation can be edited by clicking on it. There is a "Play" button that launches the selected installation and a folder icon that takes to the installation's game directory. The ellipses button contains the options to edit, duplicate, or delete an installation.

On the create/edit installation page, the following can be changed:

  • Icon, by selecting one of the default ones or adding a custom one. Custom icons must be a .png and 128×128 pixels in size.
  • Name, by default called "<unnamed installation>".
  • Version, which includes access to older releases and snapshots (if enabled).
  • Game directory, the location of where the game files are saved, the default being .minecraft. The location can be typed in or selected using the "Browse" button.
  • Resolution, which changes the game's windows size. It has a list of resolutions, or a custom one can be typed in.
  • Java executable, by default uses the bundled java runtime.
  • JVM arguments, such as heap size.

Before, it was possible for the users to manually set a logging configuration (see Debugging on wiki.vg for more info), however this doesn't seem to work anymore.[3]

A specific game version's server jar can also be downloaded by selecting the version in the list and pressing the "Server" button next to it.

Backwards compatibility[]

Selecting older versions in the create new installation screen.

The launcher has the ability to play most older releases of the game (and older snapshots, if enabled) by default, but also some older versions prior to Release 1.0. In order to see these versions in the installations section, the player must enable "Show historical versions of Java Edition" in the launcher settings tab. Because these versions are outdated and unsupported, they may contain bugs and errors which are not present in newer versions. It is recommended to run old versions of the game in a separate directory and backup worlds to avoid save corruption or other problems.[4]

Once historical versions are enabled, the following can be accessed:

Some issues with these older versions include:

  • Some sounds are wrong; bows, doors, and explosions use their sounds from RC1, even in versions released prior to it. In versions before Alpha 1.1.2_01, sounds do not work at all.
  • Skins are missing in versions prior to 1.7, as earlier versions used a different skin server which has since been shut down. Capes may still work, however.[needs testing]
  • In Alpha 1.0.15 and from Alpha 1.2.0 to Alpha 1.2.6, the launcher does not set the player's name properly, resulting in everyone using default names: "Player" followed by a random 3-digit number. This makes multiplayer very difficult to play, as a player's location and inventory will be reset every time they relaunch their client.
  • In Alpha 1.2.5 and Alpha 1.2.6 specifically, players will always be named "Player524". Playing multiplayer in these versions is impossible, as joining a server will kick other players with the same name.
  • As a side effect of the above, and as a result of old authentication servers being shut down, online mode no longer works in versions before Beta 1.8.

Skins[]

The skins section.

In the "Skins" section, the user can view and change their in-game skin. By default, the skin will either be Steve or Alex.

In the skins library, skin can be applied by clicking "Use". The skin can also be edited, duplicate, or delete by clicking the ellipsis button. By default, the library contains the default Steve and Alex skins, which can be duplicated or applied, but not removed.

Visiting this section without the game purchased will show a button that redirects to the Minecraft: Java Edition buy page.

Minecraft Dungeons[]

Gear (item).gif
This section is a work in progress. 
Please help in the expansion or creation of this article by expanding or improving it. The talk page may contain suggestions.

There are 5 tabs on the Minecraft Dungeons page: Play, DLC, FAQ, Installation, and Patch notes. (Only Play, DLC, and Patch notes are shown on an unsupported platform.)

Play[]

Minecraft Dungeons default section

The default view of the Minecraft Dungeons section in the Launcher

The main "Play" section allows the user to download (if needed) and launch the latest version of Minecraft Dungeons with the "Play" button, and also includes images from the game and a list of the latest news articles from minecraft.net below. This section also contains a notice that the game can be purchased separately from the Microsoft Store for Windows 10. If the player is not playing on the supported platform, a small message on the bottom will be shown that displays: Where is the play button?! Minecraft Dungeons isn't available on (platform).

DLC[]

Minecraft Dungeons DLC Page in Launcher

The DLC tab on the Minecraft Dungeons Page in the Launcher

There is a search bar and a filter option to narrow down the results when searching the DLCs. The bundle or/and the DLCs can be shown by checking the box.

Each DLC is shown in a card-like structure with the DLC info on the left and a cover image on the right. There is also a slideshow on the bottom of the card.

FAQ[]

Minecraft Dungeons FAQ Tab

The FAQ Tab in Minecraft Dungeons on the Minecraft Launcher

The FAQ section is shown when pressing the FAQ tab. There is a list of troubleshooting sections and a link to the Help Center FAQ for Minecraft Dungeons.

Installation[]

This section is missing information about the launcher appearance when the game was purchased. 
Please expand the section to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page.

Visiting this section without the game purchased will show a button that redirects to the Minecraft Dungeons buy page.

Patch Notes[]

This section shows cards of the patch notes. Each card contains an image on top and the text below stating the name of the patch notes. When clicked, this will show the patch notes.

Settings[]

The "About" section in the launcher settings.

In the main "General" section, users can:

  • Change the launcher language. There are 66 languages available, including 2 joke languages (as of February 2021).
  • Use the beta version of the launcher, which requires restarting the launcher to start downloading if there is one available.
  • Keep the launcher open while games are running.
  • Enable animations in the launcher, which are disabled by default to avoid potential motion sickness for some users.
  • Disable hardware acceleration.

Options exclusively for Minecraft: Java Edition:

  • Open the output log when the game starts.
  • Option to automatically send the game's crash reports to Mojang Studios.
  • Show historical versions of the game (versions prior to Release 1.0) in the version selector in the Installations section.

In the "Accounts" section, users can add, switch, manage, or remove their Microsoft, Mojang Studios, or Legacy Minecraft accounts.

The "About" section contains details about the launcher including its version, credits, and third-party licenses, as well as a list of patch notes by clicking the "What's New?" button.

Command line usage[]

This section is missing information about the default host of the proxy (if available) and the --nativeLauncherVersion flag. 
Please expand the section to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page.

The Minecraft Launcher can be invoked using the command line by typing %Program Files (x86)%\Minecraft Launcher\MinecraftLauncher.exe in Windows or minecraft-launcher in either Mac or Linux.

The Help Message when using MinecraftLauncher.exe --help

As of version 2.2.25xx, the launcher has these command-line options available for Minecraft: Java Edition:

  • --demo - This launches the demo version of the game, much like if the game hasn't been purchased yet.
  • -h, --help - This option will display a help message on how to run it in the command line.
  • --clean – This option deletes the "game" and "runtime" folders, including their contents, from the working directory.
  • --launcherui - This option will present the login screen.
  • -w, --workDir – This option, followed by a path (relative or absolute), changes the location (and/or name) of the .minecraft folder.
    • Can be used to create a portable installation of the game. For example, --workDir (or --workDir=.) can be used to make the launcher use the current directory (no matter what the current folder is called).
  • --nativeLauncherVersion - .
  • --tmpDir – This option, followed by a path (relative or absolute), changes the location (and/or name) of the tmp folder.
  • -l, --lockDir- This option, followed by a path, will restrict the installation directory to a specified folder.
  • --winTen – This option adds support for Windows 10. Since the launcher now supports Windows 10 fully, this option is unnecessary and seems to have no effect.
  • --proxyHost - This option changes where the host of the proxy is.
  • --proxyPort - This option changes the default port from 80 to a custom one.
  • --disableGPU - This disables GPU acceleration in the launcher, which might fix issues when playing minecraft.
  • --debugGPU- This opens up a new window showing debug information, like "Graphic Feature Stats", which shows if Hardware acceleration is enabled on certain features, and an option to copy the content to the clipboard. These might be useful for troubleshooting purposes.

History[]

Java Edition Alpha
v1.0.0Initial release. In this version, users can choose not only the current version but also Infdev.
The client requires an internet connection on the first run and for updates, but after that, the game supports playing offline.
Command line arguments are accepted to launch the game. Using the format java -cp Minecraft.jar net.minecraft.LauncherFrame username password allows login without joining a server, while the format java -cp minecraft.jar net.minecraft.LauncherFrame username password serveraddress:portnumber allows joining a server.
v1.2.2Command line arguments format changed.
Java Edition Beta
1.3Released in February 21, 2011.[6] A technical sneak preview was published by Notch on February 18, 2011.[7]
Added capability of automatic login to the game and/or server by command line arguments.
Added smarter update system that updates only changed files, prompts the user to update, allows HTTPS logins for a more secure connection, and offers general UI improvements.
Link to the Minecraft install directory for easy access.
Added Force Update button under the Options dialog.
The launcher also featured an inline "changelog" via a Tumblr called MCUpdate, and supports command-line arguments.[8]
Added the new Minecraft logo.
Added official links, community links and Mojang on Twitter links.
Java Edition
1.2.1Properly selects 64-bit Java installations for macOS users.[9]
1.3.2Added ability to launch demo mode for non-premium users.
1.6.113w16aNew launcher added.
1.14New 'beta' launcher added. See Launcher version history for version history from this point onwards.
February 24, 2020With launcher version 2.1.1230x, a new section for the game Minecraft Dungeons was added where one could sign up for its beta. This is the first time the Minecraft launcher includes a game other than Minecraft: Java Edition.
October 21, 2020It is announced that Java Edition will soon be using Microsoft accounts for added security enhancements. With this, all Mojang Studios accounts will be migrated to Microsoft accounts.[10][11] Since December 1, 2020, new players are no longer able to sign up for a Mojang Studios account; they are instead required to use or create a Microsoft account to buy and play the game.
November 27, 2020With launcher version 2.2.74x it is now "Unified" and one can now log in with a Microsoft Account and launch Minecraft Dungeons, which previously required a separate launcher.[12]

Gallery[]

Minecraft: Java Edition[]

Backgrounds[]

Version history[]

Trivia[]

  • In version 2.2.2529 release notes there's text, that reads: T⍑ᒷ ᔑ ̇/𝙹ꖎ𝙹ℸ ̣ ꖎᓭ ᔑ∷ᒷ リ𝙹ℸ ̣ ∴⍑ᔑℸ ̣ ℸ ̣ ⍑ᒷ|| ᓭᒷᒷᒲ - which after translations means "THE AXOLOTS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM".
  • Both Alpha and Classic versions of Minecraft: Java Edition are listed as "old_alpha", despite them not being the same.[13]
  • The launcher doesn't store passwords locally. Instead, it uses a 'refresh token'.
  • The current launcher is the eighth launcher for Minecraft: Java Edition, and the third that was built to automatically update itself.
  • Game crashes are reported to Mojang Studios through Hopper.
  • The legacy launcher can be downloaded here (version 1.6.93, ~4.6MB as opposed to the modern launcher's ~85MB). However, the legacy launcher is incompatible with Microsoft accounts and will be discontinued in Q2 2021 due to account migration.

References[]

See also[]