Minecraft launcher

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Minecraft launcher
Current version



WindowsOS XLinux

The Minecraft launcher is the login and downloader front-end to the stand-alone client. It is responsible for downloading the main Java packages, including minecraft.jar, which holds the code and resources of the game such as textures, and LWJGL. It also acts somewhat like a basic and easily bypassable copy-restriction by forcing the user to login to a paid account when running for the first time. It is possible to use the launcher to run versions of Minecraft from nearly any era, however some versions are still not included on the launcher, such as Indev, Minecraft 2.0 and any of the Beta 1.9 pre-releases. The current launcher is the fourth launcher for Minecraft, and the first that was built to automatically update itself.

Behavior[edit | edit source]

The login screen for launchers without already signed-in users.

Every time the launcher is executed, it checks a specific directory where Minecraft stores its files called .minecraft. It checks a file called "launcher_profiles.json" for login credentials. If the file does not exist, is corrupt, or no user is logged in, the user must login with a valid premium account, otherwise the user will be directed to play the Demo version or purchase the game.

When logging in, the launcher will first try to verify the login. If a valid "launcher_profiles.json" file exists but there is no Internet connection, the launcher will offer a "Play offline" mode if a player was logged in when it was last closed. If the connection is successful, the launcher will then, depending on profile options, compare the latest version in the latest "versions" directory to the latest version reported by the server. If the selected version does not exist or the latest installed version is outdated when "Use latest version" is selected in the profile, the launcher will download all Minecraft components and Java binary files. It will also synchronize everything in the Assets folder (see Resource pack).

Finally, upon a successful update or installation, the launcher will execute the Minecraft jar (via "javaw.exe", Oracle's Java Virtual Machine executable.) It is possible however for there to be missing ".jar" files, in which case the launcher will attempt to replace the missing files automatically but will stop if there is no connection.

Currently, Minecraft launcher supports only English. Users cannot select their preferred language.

Features[edit | edit source]

  • Manage multiple profiles (stored in "launcher_profiles.json"). Each profile can control:
    • Game version. Includes access to outdated development builds and previous releases. You can also add older/custom versions manually[1]. See this video for instructions.
    • Mojang account used to play the game
    • Command line arguments for Java (such as heap size)
    • Game Directory (where the game files are saved on disk)
    • And so on.
  • The launcher doesn't store your password locally. Instead of this, it uses a 'refresh token'.
  • Automatic updates for launcher.
  • Ability to update libraries, such as LWJGL.
  • Offline mode. (The first time launch requires an Internet connection to download required resources)
  • Currently only available in English.
  • Crashes can be reported to Mojang, through Hopper.
  • Crashes are indexed through a database for information on how to fix the issue.

Time Machine[edit | edit source]

A profile with Alpha and Beta versions enabled

The Minecraft launcher has the ability to play old Alpha and Beta versions of the game. Currently, snapshots, Alpha, Beta, and all Release versions are available to play. Four Pre-classic versions, four Classic versions, and an Infdev version are already added under the names "old-alpha version".[2] However, Indev is still missing.

Progress *note: as of 1.10.2

To enable the old versions either click the "Edit Profile" button or, preferably, create a new one. Under the "Version Selection" section choose to allow use of Alpha and/or Beta versions by ticking the appropriate boxes. Next, select the desired version from the drop-down menu and save the profile.

However, these versions are very out of date and may be unstable. Any bugs, glitches, missing features, or crashes that result from instability will never be resolved as only later versions are supported. Mojang strongly recommends that you play them in separate directories than your other saves to avoid corruption.[3]

Command-line usage[edit | edit source]

MinecraftDev.jar (all systems):

java -cp Minecraft.jar net.minecraft.bootstrap.Bootstrap <username> <server:port>

As of the launcher released with Minecraft 1.6, there are other commands for the launcher. These are shown if you do

java -jar Minecraft.jar -help

History[edit | edit source]

1.0.0 Initial 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 will allow login without joining a server, while the format java -cp minecraft.jar net.minecraft.LauncherFrame username password serveraddress:portnumber allows joining a server.
1.2.2 Command line arguments format changed.
1.3 Released in February 21, 2011.[5] A technical sneak preview was published by Notch on February 18, 2011.[6]Added capability of automatic login to the game and/or server by command line arguments.
Added smarter update system that only updates 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.
Add Force Update button under the Options dialog.
The launcher also featured an inline "changelog" via a Tumblr called MCUpdate, and supports command-line arguments.[4]
Added the new Minecraft logo.
Added official links, community links and Mojang on Twitter links.
Official release
1.2.1 Properly selects 64-bit Java installations for Mac OS X users.[7]
1.3.2 Added ability to launch demo mode for non-premium users.
1.6.1 13w16a New launcher added. See launcher history below.

Minecraft Launcher[edit | edit source]

Launcher version Release date Summary of changes
1.6.69 October 26th, 2016
  • Unknown
1.6.66 October 24th, 2016
  • Now warns the player when their profile has been opened in the new launcher.
1.6.61 March 3rd, 2016
  • Game Session ID is now hidden in the game output tab when launching the game, now says Session ID is <censored>
1.6.59 February 25th, 2016
  • Unknown
1.6.57 February 24th, 2016
  • Unknown
1.6.51 February 4th, 2016
  • Unknown
1.6.48 October 9th, 2015
  • Unknown
1.6.44 September 11th, 2015
  • Added information about new OSX Installer. (Showing only on OSX)
1.6.39 September 8th, 2015
  • Fixed Launcher window closing.
  • Fixed closing the "Profile Editor" window.
  • Minor changes.
1.6.19 July 24, 2015
  • Added Windows 10 support
  • Added new argument -winTen
1.6.13 July 1, 2015
  • Launcher now creating folder "server-resource-packs" in game directory.
1.6.11 January 30, 2015
  • Installer uses Java 8[8]
  • Executable downloads its own runtime; Java no longer needs to be installed
Bug fixes:
  • MCL-546 – Unknown publisher, missing digital signature
  • MCL-2987 – Launcher will not remember login info by your gamertag
  • MCL-3128 – Launcher stuck on launcher.pack.lzma download
  • MCL-3303 – Launcher doesn't open.
1.6.5 December 18, 2014
  • Test launcher
    • Launcher Log takes note of 'proxy', for instance showing 'proxy == DIRECT'
  • Fixed: MCL-3287 – "unknown error" when running Minecraft.msi
1.6.3 December 17, 2014
  • Test launcher[9]
    • Launcher for Windows now available as .msi, installs to the /Program Files (x86)/Minecraft directory
  • First installable launcher.
1.5.5 December 16, 2014
  • Test launcher
    • Unknown
1.5.4 December 12, 2014
  • Test launcher[10]
    • Update for the native bootstrap
    • Uses a local, launcher-managed Java runtime instead of system Java.
1.5.3 September 1, 2014
Bug fixes:
  • MCL-2300 – Extra Fonts installed in Windows 8.1 stops Launcher running
  • MCL-3013 – Launcher: "Playing offline"
  • MCL-3171 – Checksum mismatch for realms 1.5.8
  • MCL-3257 – < Forgotten in the Client
1.5.2 August 19, 2014
  • Re-launching Minecraft with a user used previously will override the game output tab for that user
1.5.1 July 29, 2014
  • Fix launcher stuck on Loading...[11]
  • Fixed: MCL-2494 – Play and Log out buttons grayed out on first run of launcher / launcher update
1.5 July 28, 2014
  • Development Console tab renamed to Launcher Log
  • You can now run multiple instances of Minecraft at once, provided they're on different users
  • Play button renamed to Already Playing... if Minecraft is open while looking at launcher
  • New tab called Game Output (yourusername) appears after launching minecraft
1.4.7 July 25, 2014
  • Prepend libraries instead of appending(?)
1.4.6 July 25, 2014
  • Added some command-line switches on the Profile Editor(?)
  • Added version inheritance[12]
1.4.5 July 25, 2014
  • Added a "Switch users" button to make switching users easier
  • Another attempt to fix MCL-2494, but the fix didn't work.
1.4.4 May 19, 2014
  • Attempt to fix MCL-2494, but the fix didn't work.
  • Fixed: MCL-2564 – No alpha or Beta versions in launcher (even local ones)
1.4.2 May 2, 2014
  • Loading bar displays file currently being downloaded
  • Fixed: MCL-2350 – Slowly eats large amounts of heap
  • Removed tab Local Version Editor (NYI)
  • Auto cleanup unused libraries
1.3.11 March 12, 2014
  • Update Notes website frame uses JavaFX if available
  • Profiles are now displayed in alphabetical order
1.3.10 February 13, 2014
  • Libraries use SHA-1 for validation
1.3.9 January 24, 2014
  • Updated bug tracker links
1.3.8 January 8, 2014
  • Added "(Why can I only play demo?)" link for demo accounts, under the "play demo" button. The link redirects you here
1.3.7 December 12, 2013
  • Unknown
1.3.6 December 5, 2013
  • Fixed: MCL-1895 – Cannot play offline in 1.3.5 version - immediately gamecrash when launching
1.3.5 December 4, 2013
  • Rearranged the assets folder for the new Assets Management System.[13]
1.3.4 November 26, 2013
  • Faster downloading of some big files.[14]
1.3.3 November 20, 2013
  • (Possible) Bridging of Mojang and Twitch accounts.[15]
1.3.2 November 18, 2013
  • Added time it took to finish jobs.
  • Faster resource downloading.[16]
1.3.1 October 29, 2013
  • Speed improvements
  • Basic read-only popup on version list tab
  • Misc fixes and cleanups
1.2.8 October 25, 2013[17]
  • Unknown
1.2.7[18] October 18, 2013
  • Added an open game directory button in the profile editor.
1.2.5[19] September 23, 2013
  • No longer displays the developer console automatically after clicking "Play". (MCL-1266)
1.2.4[20] September 19, 2013
  • Unknown
1.2.3[21] September 12, 2013
  • You can now log out from everywhere with the launcher (MCL-1270)
1.2.2[22] September 3, 2013
  • Fixed a bug (MCL-1461) that made the launcher take a long time to load up.
1.2.1 (Files uploaded)[23] August 6, 2013
1.2.1 (Files uploaded)[24][25] August 6, 2013
1.2.1 August 2, 2013
  • Added a warning about using Beta, Alpha, and snapshot versions
1.2 August 1, 2013
  • Added a "Time Machine" feature to use Beta versions.
    • An option for Alpha has been included but the versions are not available yet.
  • Also allows players to play versions 1.2.5-1.4.7
1.1.4 July 31, 2013
  • Some small text updates
1.1.3[26] July 27, 2013
  • Fixed low FPS issues on Intel HDXXXX chipsets.
1.1.2 July 22, 2013
  • Fixed MCL-1241 - Cannot play offline in 1.1.1
1.1.1 July 19, 2013
  • New-look launcher and login screen
  • Launcher now closes automatically when game window opens
1.0.10 July 12, 2013
  • Further support for Hopper
  • Client crashes can be flagged as Public
    • Nothing is currently done with these
  • Profiles have the option to disable Hopper support
  • Reporting directly to the bug tracker is only allowed if Hopper is turned off or the launcher can't connect to Hopper
    • Hopper will not send crash report to bug tracker if the game is modded
1.0.9 July 10, 2013
  • Added support for the new crash-reporting system, Hopper[27]
    • Any client crash will automatically submit the crash report
1.0.8 OS X (Re-upload)[28] July 9, 2013
  • Fixes to the launcher having trouble playing 1.6.2 on OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
1.0.8 OS X (Re-upload)[29] July 8, 2013
  • Fixes to the launcher having trouble playing 1.6.2 on OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
1.0.8 July 2, 2013
  • The launcher now has a high-definition icon[citation needed]
  • Mac OS X 10.5.8 users have had Minecraft 1.6.1 disabled pending a LWJGL fix, however 1.5.2 is not affected[30]
1.0.7 July 2, 2013
  • Added ability to disable automatic login[31]
1.0.6 July 1, 2013
Bug fixes:
  • MCL-92 – Starting Window Size does not fit entire GUI
  • MCL-227 – Play button not in frame @ Linux
  • MCL-262 – Text does not fit in window
  • MCL-287 – Launcher gui has limited visuals, can't select version - no access to tabs
  • MCL-596 – Incorrect version in new Mac launcher
  • MCL-696 – I don't see an option to change RAM in "Edit Profile"
1.0.5 July 1, 2013
  • Added a 'snapshot' setting in the profile editor, enabling/disabling snapshots.
  • 'Minecraft.exe'(launcher) has been digitally signed. (MCL-546)
1.0.4 June 28, 2013
  • Added a 'resolution' setting in the profile editor.
1.0.3 June 27, 2013
Bug fixes:
  • MCL-587 – Full game can be played with non-premium account
  • MCL-600 – Launcher gives wrong message when you sign in with username instead of email.
1.0.2 June 27, 2013
  • Unknown
1.0.1 June 26, 2013
  • Yggdrasil authentication re-deployed
    • Fixed: MCL-568 – Migrated Account - Can't login in 1.6 prerelease on 1.0.1 launcher
1.0.0 June 26, 2013
  • Launcher downgraded to 1.0.0
  • Disabled Yggdrasil because of login error
1.0.1 June 26, 2013
  • Enabled Yggdrasil, The new auth system
  • More secure and much more featureful.
1.0 June 25, 2013
  • Unknown
0.9.5 June 18, 2013
  • Unknown
0.9.4 June 18, 2013
  • Added "New Profile" and "Edit Profile" Buttons to the profile selection panel
0.9.3 June 14, 2013
  • Unknown
0.9.2 June 13, 2013
  • Unknown
0.9.1 June 10, 2013
  • Fixed: MCL-412 – OS X: Exception in thread "main" java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: net/minecraft/client/main/Main
0.9 June 10, 2013
  • Now includes a Profile Editor tab.
    • Choosing the game's version can only be done by double clicking your profile and changing the version in the drop down list.
  • Changes to the Version Selector area.
0.8.3 June 7, 2013
  • Unknown
0.8.2 May 27, 2013
  • Unknown
0.8.1 May 21, 2013
  • Client window now uses Crafting Table icon for main window when a snapshot build is selected; Launcher window still uses Grass Block icon
    • Selecting release builds on Windows currently uses the basic Java icon
0.8 May 20, 2013
  • Unknown
0.7.2 May 15, 2013
  • Unknown
0.7 May 13, 2013
  • Launcher downgraded to 0.7
0.7.1 May 4, 2013
  • Unknown
0.7 May 2, 2013
  • Unknown
0.6 April 25, 2013
  • Unknown
0.5 April 23, 2013
  • Added 1.5.1 to the list of available versions in the launcher
0.4 April 23, 2013
  • Re-enabled crash reporting
0.3 April 22, 2013
  • Added Local Version Editor (NYI) tab to the launcher
  • Added window to check server status
  • Small bug fixes
0.2 April 19, 2013
  • Added Development Console tab to the launcher
  • Fixed starting game trouble
0.1 April 18, 2013
  • .minecraft directory structure is changed:
    • "assets" folder; stores resources such as language packs and sounds.
      • All music discs now use .ogg format instead of .mus format.
    • "library" folder; stores Java libraries such as LWJGL and jinput.jar.
    • "versions" folder; there are file "versions.json" (meta data) and folders that stores minecraft.jar for each versions (but its name is same as its version. e.g. for 13w16a, "versions/13w16a/13w16a.jar").
  • The launcher is an executable.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/344164561701724160
  2. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/364762596387205120
  3. https://help.mojang.com/customer/portal/articles/1475923-changing-game-versions
  4. http://mcupdate.tumblr.com/post/3427294253/welcome-to-the-new-minecraft-launcher
  5. http://notch.tumblr.com/post/3428176687/server-downtime-and-a-new-launcher
  6. https://twitter.com/notch/status/38621269331025921
  7. http://www.mojang.com/2012/03/minecraft-1-2-is-out/
  8. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/561096640086700032
  9. https://www.reddit.com/r/Minecraft/comments/2pkxpx/we_need_your_help_testing_the_new_minecraft
  10. https://www.reddit.com/r/Minecraft/comments/2p31cu/we_need_your_help_testing_a_new_launcher
  11. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/494220782244208640
  12. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/492715318645882880
  13. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/408246271921901568
  14. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/405366855785021440
  15. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/403111179859812352
  16. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/402434001451098112
  17. https://bugs.mojang.com/browse/MCL/fixforversion/13900
  18. https://bugs.mojang.com/browse/MCL-1664?jql=project%20%3D%20MCL%20AND%20fixVersion%20%3D%20%221.2.7%22%20ORDER%20BY%20updated%20DESC%2C%20priority%20DESC%2C%20created%20ASC
  19. https://bugs.mojang.com/browse/MCL-1266?jql=project%20%3D%20MCL%20AND%20fixVersion%20%3D%20%221.2.5%22%20ORDER%20BY%20updated%20DESC%2C%20priority%20DESC%2C%20created%20ASC
  20. https://bugs.mojang.com/issues/?jql=project%20%3D%20MCL%20AND%20fixVersion%20%3D%20%221.2.4%22%20ORDER%20BY%20updated%20DESC%2C%20priority%20DESC%2C%20created%20ASC
  21. https://twitter.com/Marc_IRL/status/378280823180361729
  22. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/374887108932288512
  23. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/365040968644296705
  24. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/364699262233223169
  25. https://twitter.com/_grum/status/364699271708151808
  26. https://twitter.com/_grum/status/361126093777936384
  27. http://hopper.minecraft.net/
  28. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/354595929925496832
  29. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/354351963288248321
  30. https://twitter.com/Dinnerbone/status/352109843731070976
  31. MCL-590

See also[edit | edit source]