Okay, so, you want to learn how to install and play Minecraft on your shiny new Chromebook.
Let me just tell you right now that it’s possible. And it’s (somewhat) easy.
Chromebooks are a great deal as they’re generally very cheap laptops that have pretty decent processing power.
And if you want to know if yours can run the game, it depends on the hardware, setup, and specs- I wrote a separate article to find out if your Chromebook can run Minecraft or not.
But ultimately, it depends on the specific make and model of your Chromebook. That’s the bottom line.
In this guide, we’ll first go over some basic hardware requirements that your Chromebook must have. Then it’ll be followed by a step-by-step guide that’ll have you mining for Diamond in a jiffy on your new Chromebook. After that, I’ll have some troubleshooting points in case you couldn’t get it working.
Last updated: 7/15/2017. This guide has been constantly updated throughout 2016 and 2017 to provide you with the most up-to-date information. So don’t be worried about outdated information. Everything following this guide should be working and up-to-date. If you find a problem, please let me know in the comments and the guide will be updated to reflect any changes.
If you find this guide useful, please consider sharing it.
Let’s get mining!
Choosing and Buying a Chromebook to play Minecraft
A lot of people buy a Chromebook just for the sole purpose of playing Minecraft, believe it or not. You’d be surprised. These machines can run Minecraft pretty decently even if they’re powered by Intel HD graphics. The graphics processor is indeed onboard and integrated, but it has enough power to run Minecraft at playable frame rates.
If you are getting a Chromebook just for the purpose of playing Minecraft, I suggest you get one that’s powered by an Intel processor as it makes the whole process a lot easier. If it’s powered by ARM or MediaTek, you may have issues getting the game to run.
What Intel processor specifically? The majority of Chromebooks made by Acer, Asus, and HP are all powered by Intel-based processors. Intel Celeron and Pentium processors are more than enough to handle Minecraft, however, upgrading to an i3 or i5 is a smart move if you plan to do serious gaming on your laptop.
Do a quick search on your specific model and check out what processor it has. If it’s any type of Intel CPU, you’re good to go. I’ve also compiled a list of some cheap Chromebooks under $200, and most of them can run Minecraft provided it uses an Intel CPU.
There are some models that are powered by ARM processors, and may not work with this tutorial, let alone be able to run Minecraft with any tutorial unless some hardcore system tweaking is performed. These are usually found in Samsung Chromebooks, so these should be avoided.
However, for the majority of users, this guide should work well. The most popular models are all powered by an Intel processor, mainly Celeron with Intel HD graphics, so this guide should apply to the majority of users who want to play Minecraft on their laptop.
If you have a different processor other than Intel, I strongly suggest that you proceed with caution and note that that the following steps may not be applicable to your Chromebook. Tread carefully.
Installing Minecraft on a Chromebook
A word of warning- you’ll need to have a basic understanding of operating systems and basic programming to use this guide. Don’t worry too much about it, we give you everything you need to know including the lines of code. But it helps if you understand what exactly an operating system is and what you’re doing by switching between them.
You also need to be very specific in your lines of code, because one incorrect character or casing can ruin the process and you may need to start over. So be extra careful. Be meticulous. Make sure you follow every step. Skipping around isn’t such a good idea.
We also want to let you know you are doing this at your own risk. It’s completely up to you to follow this tutorial so we’re not responsible for any damage, warranty voids, machine failures, the frustration, anger, or you tossing your Chromebook out the window.
We’ve only tested this method of playing Minecraft on a few machines, so not every single Chromebook is accounted for.
Also, don’t worry too much if you want to go back and start from the beginning because you messed up. All you need to do is wipe your Chromebook by enabling developer mode which we provide a guide for below. You’ll need to enable developer mode in the first place anyway to get started.
But if you mess up at any point during the guide and you want to start over and just start from the very first step below and white bean machine to start over.
Enough warnings. Let’s get started already.
Here’s how to play Minecraft on a Chromebook
Alright, the first thing you need to do is to enable developer mode on your Chromebook. If you don’t know how to do this, read the guide. Please read it if you’ve never enabled developer mode before as it’ll make the next few steps super easy.
For those who have or are technically-inclined, here’s a brief summary of how to get your Chromebook into developer mode:
Enabling developer mode on your Chromebook
Step 1: Copy all your personal files that you want to keep to an external storage such as an external hard drive, a USB flash drive, SD card, whatever. You can also use the free storage provided by Google on Google Drive for this purpose.
Step 2: When you’ve copied your files, press “Escape + Refresh + Power”, and hold it until your Chromebook reboots. You’ll see the recovery screen which may look kind of scary because there is a giant exclamation mark on it and a warning from Google.
Step 3: Hit “Ctrl + D” to enable developer mode on your Chromebook. You’ll likely get another confirmation message warning you that this will erase everything on your machine. Make sure you backed up your stuff. The machine will now reboot and it’ll take about 15 minutes. After the reboot, you’ll see a screen that says “OS verification is off” and the options to enable it. You don’t want it enable because we want to get into developer mode. You can now wait 30 seconds, or simply just press “Ctrl + P.”
Okay, now your Chromebook is officially developer mode enabled. Now let’s move on to the next step.
Installing Crouton on your Chromebook
So now we’re going to actually start installing Minecraft on your Chromebook.
Note that all lines of code are case sensitive. So, make sure you type the lines in exactly as we type them here.
And don’t include the quotation marks on any of the lines below as you type them in. If you use quotes, your Chromebook will return an error and prompt you to input the line of code again. So please be careful.
Step 1: First we need to install Linux OS. This operating system is what’s going to run Minecraft on your Chromebook. It’s free and very popular among a very specific crowd of computer powerusers. Don’t worry too much about what Linux is. We just need it to run Minecraft, since Chrome OS (the operating system of your Chromebook) can’t run the game by default.
We need something called Crouton, which is basically a program that lets you run Chrome OS and Linux simultaneously. It’s like the installer for Linux onto your Chromebook.
(Here’s another way to think about what we’re doing. Think:
Crouton = Minecraft launcher.
Linux = Minecraft.
Xfce/KDE = Minecraft mods.
Do you get it now? Heh.)
You can visit the GitHub page for Crouton here.
Or you can easily download Crouton directly here.
It’s strongly recommended that you check out the GitHub page as it contains some important instructions if you get lost, along with other lines of code you can use to modify your installation. You’ll have a lot of questions during installation, such as what version to install and what parameters to use. Reading the FAQ page will answer most of your troubleshooting getting the game to run.
If you see multiple downloads on the GitHub page, the Linux version we’re going to be using is called “Xfce” After Crouton has been downloaded onto your Chromebook, the next step is to install it.
Note: there are 3 different desktop environments of Linux via Crouton you can download, and they’re all different mainly in resource usage, UI, looks, and design. For this tutorial, we’ll be installing “Xfce” which is the most basic version of Linux. It runs the fastest but looks the most plain. If you want something more flashy or with more eye-candy, then try “KDE” instead. Simply replace “xfce” with “kde” in all of the following lines of code. If you run into any problems, please leave a comment so I can update the tutorial.
Also, make sure the file is in the “Downloads” folder. Open the app launcher and look for the blue folder icon. Click on it and look for the “Downloads” folder on the left-hand menu. By default, anything you download from the Internet gets downloaded into the “Downloads” folder, so you shouldn’t need to change to anything in most cases. If however, the file saved into one of your custom folders, move it to the “downloads” folder. This will make your installation much easier to deal with, and the next few steps assume you have the file in the right folder.
Next, we’ll install Crouton with the Xfce desktop environment. The process is pretty easy and is the first few lines of code you’ll be typing in. So if you get an error, double-check your spelling. If you want to use KDE, replace the following steps with “kde” whenever “xfce” appears. Make sure you don’t use them interchangeably. They’re completely different Ubuntu environments.
Step 2: Press “Ctrl + Alt + T.” This will open a new tab.
Step 3: Type “shell” and press Enter.
Step 4: Type “sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce” and press Enter…but if you have a touchscreen or want to add encryption, use the optional stuff below instead.
If you want to use your Chromebook’s touchscreen function within Linux, type “sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t touch,xfce” and press Enter.
If you want to add encryption, type “sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce” and press Enter.
And if you want to add both encryption and touchscreen capability, type “sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t touch,xfce” and press Enter.
Did you get an error? Try again. Check your spelling and remember- don’t use the quotations.
Note: If you’re trying to install this on an Acer Chromebook, you may want to add “-r trusty” to your command line as well. You may get an error later calling for “qdbus” if you don’t do this. Although, you can proceed without doing this. But, if you get an error when you try to launch KDE (Step 6), come back to this step. Heads up- you’ll need to Powerwash your system to reinstall KDE, so you probably want to save yourself some time and just add the extra command.
Now your Chromebook is going to automatically install Crouton. This can take anywhere up to 30 minutes. Just sit tight. Watch some Minecraft videos to relieve your excitement. Or just sit and jitter with anticipation. The choice is yours. You can do whatever you want during the download and it won’t interrupt it, so don’t worry (as long as you don’t close the command line).
You can also browse the rest of this tutorial to see what’s coming up. (You’re halfway done!)
Step 5: After the Crouton installation is complete, it’ll prompt you for a username and password. Go ahead and choose whatever you desire. When you are entering your new password, it’ll be blank for the password field. This is normal. Write down your login information so you don’t forget it.
Step 6: Now we’ll boot up our fresh installation of Linux on Chromebook. Type “sudo startxfce4” and hit Enter.
The Xfce splash screen will show, and then a little after your Chromebook will reboot with Linux. You now have Linux and Chrome OS running simultaneously.
When your Chromebook boots up, it should be running Linux. Doesn’t look familiar? Don’t fret. You can switch back to Chrome- well, actually you’ll have to for the next step.
To switch back to Chrome OS, hit: “Ctrl + Alt + Left Arrow.”
This is found on the top row of your keyboard– where the F1-F12 keys would be on a traditional Windows keyboard. You’ll see a pair of Left/Right arrow keys on the top row. Don’t get this confused with the actual arrow keys used for scrolling.
Note: Some users have reported that you need to press “Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Left/Right Arrow” to switch between Chrome OS and Linux. Try this combination if the above doesn’t work.
Are you getting a “qdbus” error?: Some users have also reported that they’re getting a “Could not start D-Bus. Can you call qdbus?” error.
Some models may throw this error when you try to launch up the KDE environment using the “sudo startkde” command. if you get this error, you’ll need to reinstall KDE. You’ll need to perform a Powerwash on your machine to get it back to factory settings and start over. The exception and how to fix this error is easy- when you install KDE again, add “-r trusty” to the command line when you’re installing KDE (Step 4).
“sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce” –r trusty”
This should fix the D-Bus error.
Step 7: Now that you’re back in Chrome OS, use your Chrome web browser to go to the Minecraft official site and find the download that reads Minecraft for Linux. We assume you are a Minecraft account subscriber because if you’re not, you will need to purchase an account. Cracked versions of Minecraft or other illegal copies won’t work on Chromebooks. Sorry.
Step 8: After Minecraft has finished downloading, switch back to Linux by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + Right Arrow,” and then “Ctrl + Alt + Refresh.” Now that you’re back in Linux with a copy of Minecraft, right-click your desktop with your cursor, and choose System > Xfce Terminal. This will open up a window with a black background and white text. You’re going to enter the following commands in this window.
If you’re using KDE, click the KDE button on the bottom left of the screen- similar to where the “Start” button would be on a Windows computer. Then type “konsole” into the search bar and you should see it pop up. Go ahead and click it.
Step 9: In the new window that opens, you should see some text that reads “sh-x.x$.” You’ll use this to type in the following lines of code. If you’re using Xfce and the following steps don’t work, try starting over and using KDE instead. Some users have reported that Xfce didn’t work, but KDE did, so if you’re one of them, just wipe your Chromebook and start over. But for most people, it should work just fine.
Step 10: Now, in the new window that opens, type the following. Be careful about the quotations and mind your spelling.
“mkdir ~/games” and press Enter.
“mkdir ~/games/minecraft” and press Enter.
“mv ~/Downloads/Minecraft.jar ~/games/minecraft” and press Enter.
“sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jre” and press Enter.
After you entered the last line you’ll have to wait as Linux is now downloading some additional required applications.
Step 11: After the downloads are complete, you’ll have to find where Minecraft is installed and add a new item to your menu. Depending on the version of Xfce/KDE you have installed, it shouldn’t be that hard to find. For most people, you can simply right-click on the kickoff button which is located in the very bottom left corner, select “edit applications,” click “games,” then click “new item.” Type in “Minecraft” in the new window, and click OK. You’re almost done!
(If you’re running KDE, and your Chromebook doesn’t give you the option to edit applications, open another command window and type “sudo apt-get install kmenuedit” which will install an additional application to give you the option. If you do this you’ll need to log out and log back in, then start over at this step.
Step 12: You’ll now see some blank fields in a new window. Go to the command field and type “java -jar Minecraft.jar” in the field.
Step 13: Then click on the Advanced tab, and find the word path. Type “~/games/minecraft/” and then select the option to run in terminal. Save and close the window.
Step 14: Now when you launch the Xfce menu, you should be able to access Minecraft and add it to your home screen. The icon will appear and you can launch it like a Windows (or Chrome) application. Double-click on the Minecraft icon and the game will run like you’re used to on Windows.
The controls are identical, other than the missing keys on a Chromebook’s keyboard- but you can adjust them within the game’s settings screen. Your profile settings, display settings, and graphics, sound, and other settings will be default back to the defaults, so you’ll have to reset all these settings.
However, since you’re playing it on a new laptop, you might as well go through them again quickly. You’ll also have to reinstall any mods. Again, if you run into any issues, please leave a comment so I can fix it.
Congrats, you’ve just installed Minecraft on your Chromebook. Treat yourself to some miner’s delights.
Couldn’t get it working? Want the best performance and FPS, keep reading…
Increasing Minecraft FPS and boosting performance on Chromebook
Chromebooks can get about 50 FPS or higher. I’ve seen frame rates in the 100+ category on a Chromebook. It really depends on the specific model and make you have. High-end Chromebooks such as the Chromebook Pixel or HP 13 have decent specs that can run Minecraft with a higher frame rate due to a faster and more powerful Intel processor and more RAM. They usually offer options with an Intel i3 or i5 processor over Pentium and Celeron.
If you plan to do some serious gaming on your Chromebook with Minecraft or any other game, consider purchasing a stronger Chromebook. It’ll be worth it instead of having to deal with lag or FPS drops on a maxed-out Chromebook.
However, for most Chromebooks, they’re loaded with your standard Intel Pentium or Celeron processor with 4GB of RAM. This will net you in the 50 FPS range. Is it high? Not really. Is it playable? Definitely.
You only need about 30 FPS to play Minecraft without too much distraction from performance issues. That’s seriously not bad for such an inexpensive little machine running integrated graphics. You can try tweaking the game settings and turning down the stuff that’s not important to you to give yourself a little FPS boost. You can also close all the other apps you have running as well to reserve your RAM for Minecraft specifically.
Can’t get it to run?
- Double (or triple) check your lines of code (this is the most common issue, type in the lines of code exactly as shown without quotes)
- Did you use the exact password and username you created? (if it says your login credentials are wrong, it’s because they’re wrong; write down your password when prompted in the guide)
- Did you enable Developer Mode? (you need to do this)
- Did you restart your Chromebook when prompted? (it should be automatic, but if not, it’s important to restart)
- Did you use the right arguments in the commands suited for your laptop? (if you don’t have a touchscreen, don’t use the touchscreen argument)
- Read the Crouton FAQ page (it answers a lot of common questions)
- Read the steps thoroughly (it’s easy to skip an important substep)
- Read the comments (you may find your issue there; thanks to those who posted helpful comments!)
Getting the game to run is hit-or-miss. After dozens of comments on this article, it’s apparent that some models will work and others won’t- even if they’re both exactly the same brand or have the same specs. It’s quite perplexing.
Even if two people both have an Acer, Intel CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and the latest version of Chrome OS, one person may have success and the other gets stuck somewhere. It could be due to technical variation, but more likely it’s human error. Typing in lines of code into a black-and-white command terminal isn’t something the typical user is familiar with, therefore it’s easy to make a mistake.
It’s also quite extraordinary what we’re doing here- we’re trying to get a java-based application to run on a laptop with an OS built to block such applications by using another OS which allows it. That’s the gist of it. Bugs, technical issues, and problems are just bound to happen. We’re pretty much going against nature here…in terms of Chrome OS. And it’s freakin’ glorious.
We’re bypassing some hard-coded software by building a workaround. It’s just pretty cool to think about. It makes you feel like a computer hacker.
If you can get the game running, you’re one of the few who made it. If not, you’re with the rest of us who are still trying to figure it out. With code changes, updates, and lots and lots of tweaking, it makes it both difficult and gives us a new window of opportunity at the same time to get this working.
I mean, we (everyone here) must all be hardcore Minecraft fans here if we’re willing to go this far just to play it on a Chromebook. Any breakthroughs or new findings will be posted here to help guide anyone who wants to give this a try.
Thanks to the fans and helpers in the comments who have contributed by helping others, suggesting alternatives, or posting new workarounds. These people have helped out (on their own time) and contributed to the discussion. I guess there really are nice people out there.
Got it to run?
Well, there you have it.
You’ve installed Minecraft on your Chromebook!
That wasn’t too hard, right?
To all the people that say you can’t play Minecraft on a Chromebook, just shove this guide in their face and rub it in. Please share this guide if you found it helpful.
Now, go hunt for those diamonds.
Dig in, Steve!