Bryan Grohman

All Writing

How to Install Minecraft on a Chromebook



Table of Contents

Minecraft + Chromebook = Cheap Fun

If you like Minecraft but don't want to spend much on a computer, then using a Chromebook might be just what you need. Chromebooks are great for basic tasks such as web browsing already. With a little effort, you can turn your Chromebook into a more flexible machine capable of running Minecraft.

If you choose a Chromebook with an Intel processor and plenty of RAM, you'll get better results. Remember, Chromebooks typically have lower-end hardware aimed at basic computing tasks, so don't expect to have the best gameplay performance.

Install Ubuntu with Crouton

It's not possible to play Minecraft using ChromeOS, so you'll need to install another Linux-based operating system on your Chromebook. The easiest way to do this is using Crouton.

For the easy route, just follow the instructions on the Crouton site for installing Ubuntu with the Xfce desktop environment.

For a little more adventure, try my instructions for installing Crouton with the i3 window manager. This approach will save some system resources, too, since it doesn't rely on a full desktop environment.

Install Java

Download Java

Visit Oracle's Java SE downloads page and click through the links to download the JRE. At the time of writing, the current version of Java is 8u131. Be sure to download the 64 bit ".tar.gz" version if you have a 64 bit Chromebook. If you're not sure if your Chromebook is 64 bit, you can run the uname -p command. If the output is "x86_64", then you have a 64 bit Chromebook.

Unpack the Java Installation

I keep a ~/bin directory in my home directory and include it in the PATH environment variable. This lets me put user-specific programs in a single location within my home directory. If you follow the same pattern, note that you'll need to make sure your PATH includes $HOME/bin. You can add a line such as the following to your ~/.bashrc file:

export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/bin

Alternatively, you can install Java wherever you like. Just make sure the Java executable is located on your PATH.

For my installation, I ran the following commands to unpack Java within my ~/bin directory:

cd ~/bin
mkdir java
cd java
mv ~/Downloads/jre-8u131-linux-x64.tar.gz ~/bin/java/. 
tar -xzf jre-8u131-linux-x64.tar.gz

Once you've unpacked the Java download, it's a good idea to create a "current" symbolic link pointing to your current Java version. This lets you easily install multiple versions of Java and switch between them by updating your link.

cd ~/bin/java
ln -s jre1.8.0_131 current

Now it's time to set the JAVA_HOME environment variable and add the Java executables to your PATH. Open your .bashrc file in an editor and add the following line:

export JAVA_HOME=$HOME/bin/java/current

Also, update your PATH environment variable to include Java's executables. Your PATH line in your .bashrc file should now look something like this:

export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/bin:$JAVA_HOME/bin

You can test out your installation by running the following commands from your home directory:

source .bashrc
java -version

You should see the following output or something similar:

java version "1.8.0_131"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_131-b11)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.131-b11, mixed mode)

Download Minecraft

Visit the Minecraft website and register, or log in if you already have an account. Once you log in, follow the instructions to download the Linux version.

The Linux version of Minecraft is just a Java JAR file. I like to save it in my ~/bin directory and create a small helper script for launching it at ~/bin/minecraft:

java -jar ~/bin/Minecraft.jar

You'll need to make your launcher script executable with the following command:

chmod u+x ~/bin/minecraft

If you place that script somewhere on your PATH like my ~/bin directory, you can open a terminal and run the minecraft command from any directory to start the game.


Use your minecraft helper script to start the Minecraft Launcher. You'll need to log in with your email and password you used on the Minecraft website. Click the "Play" button at the bottom of the window to start a game.