The complete guide to installing and playing Minecraft on a Chromebook

Google Chromebooks are some of the cheapest computers available for purchase today, but they pack a lot of power for an inexpensive machine. While they can only access websites/webapps, they are fast, easy to use and manage, and don't get viruses.

But playing Minecraft on a Chromebook, at least without modifications, is impossible - there is no way to install Java on Chrome OS (the operating system that powers Chromebooks). Fortunately it's possible to play Minecraft by installing Linux on top of Chrome OS, and then playing Minecraft on that. Sounds complicated? It really isn't, and it doesn't change the way you use your Chromebook.

So here is the complete guide to playing Minecraft on a Chromebook.

What you need:
  • Intel-powered Chromebook: Several Chromebook models have ARM-based processors, which can't run Minecraft without modding the game's files, and even then then performance is terrible. If you're not sure, install this app on your Chromebook, open it, click the 'General' tab, and make sure your CPU model name has the word 'Intel' in it. 
  • Developer mode enabled: More information about that in the section below.
  • Patience: This guide isn't hard at all, but it does take some time.
Enabling developer mode

This guide requires the you to enable developer mode on your Chromebook. This is kind of like jailbreaking an iPhone - it probably voids the warranty. However, it's somewhat easy to do - HowToGeek wrote a great tutorial here. Your Chromebook will continue to work as it always has been, get updates, stay secure, etc - even when developer mode is on. If you ever want to disable developer mode in the future, you can do that too.

Once your Chromebook is in developer mode (or if it is already), head on to the next part.

Installing Linux

The process of installing Linux on your Chromebook is much easier than it sounds. We will use crouton, a way of running Linux literally on top of Chrome OS - you can switch between Linux and Chrome OS with a keyboard shortcut. It's really cool, but we will only go through enough to get Minecraft running.

Download the latest crouton script from here on your Chromebook. Make sure it's in your Downloads folder. Press Ctrl+Alt+T, and type 'shell' to access the Chrome OS shell. You should see something like "chronos@localhost" if it worked. Type this into the shell and press Enter on your keyboard:

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton

If you see some help information, that means you're ready to install Linux. Type in this command and press Enter to start downloading and installing Linux:

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce -n linux

This command will install a copy of Ubuntu Linux 12.04 (you can change the version manually, but 12.04 is the default and works) on your Chromebook. Press Enter and it will start downloading and installing everything you need. It might take a while.

At the end, it will ask you for a username and password. You can make it anything you want, but remember it! Once it's done, just type this in and press Enter:

sudo enter-chroot startxfce4

The Ubuntu XFCE desktop should open and ask you about a config, just press 'Use default config.' Congratulations, you just installed Linux on your Chromebook!

Installing Minecraft

Now comes the easy part. A small team of developers already created 'Minecraft Installer', an unofficial way to install Minecraft on Ubuntu linux (which your Chromebook now runs). And even better, I wrote a bash script that sets up Minecraft using Minecraft Installer.This literally can't get any easier.

Open the terminal inside Linux (it's in the dock at the bottom of the screen, with an icon that looks like a computer screen). Then type the command below inside and press Enter on the keyboard. In case you can't tell (like me), that's a letter 'O' in that command, not the number zero:

bash <(wget -O-

If it works, it will ask for your Linux password and it will tell you the rest. Once the script is completed, go to your Applications menu on the top left of the screen, then go to the Games menu, and Minecraft should appear! Click it, and the Minecraft launcher will open.

Now that you know it works, open the Applications menu again, press 'Log Out', press 'Log Out', and you're done!

Playing Minecraft

Now that everything is setup, this is how to get to Minecraft from anywhere on your Chromebook:

Press Ctrl+Alt+T, and type 'shell' to open the Chrome OS shell.

Type 'sudo enter-chroot startxfce4' to open Linux.

Open Minecraft from the Applications menu.

You can switch between Chrome and Linux with the CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-BackArrow keyboard shortcut (the back arrow key is next to the ESC key). You can exit Linux by going to the Applications menu and click Log Out. Closing the Chrome shell window you opened Linux with won't close Linux.

You now have both Linux and Minecraft installed on your Chromebook! If you got stuck anywhere in this guide, leave a comment below and I'll do my best to help.

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Jamel Morris
December 15, 2015 at 6:41 AM delete

it says this file is not suppported

December 15, 2015 at 7:34 AM delete

When you run it, or when you open it from the Downloads?

December 15, 2015 at 1:39 PM delete

[…] Google Chromebooks are some of the cheapest computers available for purchase today, but they pack a lot of power for an inexpensive machine. While they can only access websites/webapps, they are fa…  […]

December 17, 2015 at 7:24 AM delete

That's cool! (But FYI sudo requires admin privileges.)

Nikolay Davitadze
December 17, 2015 at 2:22 PM delete

after i typed that in, it didnt do anything

Brent Nicolet
December 31, 2015 at 4:25 AM delete

THis worked great, the next day however it has a fatal error that it cannot find the X server and cannot start windows. Any ideas?

Brent Nicolet
December 31, 2015 at 4:33 AM delete

Fatal Error no screens found is the actual command .... worked fine for two days? Acer Chromebook 11...

January 2, 2016 at 4:30 PM delete

i cant make a password >:(

Jamel Morris
January 13, 2016 at 4:46 AM delete

open it from downloads

May 6, 2016 at 6:17 PM delete

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