Minecraft flash

Portable Minecraft - Make a USB stick to Play Anywhere

Minecraft is a great game that has taken the world by storm, and the only video game in history that has made its creator a billionaire. It has sold more than 122 million copies, making it the best-selling PC game to date. Let's see how to create a portable Minecraft installation on a USB thumb drive, to play on any PC without installation.

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We prepared this guide on Windows 10 Creators Update. It should work on any relatively recent Windows version, Vista, 7, 8.1, and earlier editions of Windows 10.

Also, we have used a bought license for Minecraft. We can't guarantee that the portable Minecraft project will work with a pirated version of the game.

Table of Contents

Get a good USB stick and format it to NTFS

If we are going to play portable Minecraft straight from a USB, it's best to have a fast thumb drive. A USB 2.0 model will probably work, but we will have a much better experience if our motherboard and flash drive both support USB 3.0.

Regarding the size, a clean portable Minecraft installation is about 450MB. However, as we keep exploring the practically infinite minecraft world, the megabytes can add up fast.

So, for a comfortable experience, we would recommend a USB stick of at least 8GB. For the guide, we used the 32GB Sandisk Extreme USB 3.0, which is one of the fastest USB flash drives around and comes at a great price.

Most 8GB and 16GB USB drives come with a default FAT32 filesystem. Likewise, most 32GB+ thumb drives come with the exFAT filesystem. Neither is suitable to install the portable Minecraft, so we need to format the flash drive to NTFS.

We just right-click on the drive, select "Format"...

...and choose NTFS on the file system drop-down menu. We can also change the volume label to "Minecraft", but this is optional, and it won't make a difference for portable Minecraft.

Formatting the drive will delete any files we might have on it. So make sure to have copies of anything important on a separate disk.

Create the folder structure

On the now empty thumb drive, we must create a folder with a name of our choice, e.g. "Minecraft Portable". Inside, we need to create two folders "bin" and "data".

Download and "install" Minecraft

We need to visit https://minecraft.net/download/alternative and get the first minecraft.exe file.

Once it downloads, we move it or copy it to the bin folder.

Then, we enter the data folder. Inside, we create a new folder and name it:


with a full stop "." at the beginning and the end.

This is important because Portable Minecraft needs a ".minecraft" folder, but Windows won't let us create a filename that starts with a full stop.

By adding a second full stop at the end, Windows will automatically remove it, and we will get the correct filename.

What if I already have Minecraft installed?

If we already had Minecraft installed, it's simple to convert it to portable Minecraft. We still format the flash drive to NTFS, create the directories on the USB and download Minecraft.exe.

The main difference is that we copy the existing .minecraft folder from the disk to the USB, instead of creating a new one.

To find the non-portable Minecraft folder, we can press the Windows key + R and at the "Run" window type:


Depending on how many applications we have installed, AppData might have multiple folders. The .Minecraft folder, however, will always be the first, alphabetically.

Having found the folder, we just copy it to the data folder on the thumb drive.

If we were playing Minecraft for a while and there is a lot of data in the .minecraft folder, the copying could take a while, depending on our thumb drive's speed.

Create the batch to start portable Minecraft

Finally, we need to create a batch file to start Minecraft. This batch file will tell the Minecraft executable to use the folders on the USB, and not the HDD.

We open a plain text editor, such as Notepad...

...and copy-paste the following line, including the quotation marks "":

"%CD%\bin\Minecraft.exe" --workDir "%CD%\data\.minecraft"

The first of this commands points to the Minecraft executable on the thumb drive. The second --workdir command orders the executable to use the .minecraft folder we created inside the "data" folder on the USB flash file.

Afterwards, we save the file within the Minecraft Portable folder, along with the bin and data folders.

We can give it a name of our choice, such as "portable Minecraft", or "Minecraft portable", or "launcher". It is important that it has the ".bat" extension, and we have selected "All Files" in the "Save as type".

If we do it correctly, the system will recognise it as a Windows Batch File.

This is the file we will run to start the portable Minecraft.

Portable Minecraft: The first launch

The first time we start portable Minecraft, the PC needs to have internet access. It will download the runtime.

Notice that both the Minecraft executable file and the work directory point on our flash drive, which in the example is (E:).

Then the system will set up the runtime, which can take a while on a slow USB stick...

...and finally prompt for our Minecraft account credentials.

We log in with our Mojang email or username and password, as usual. Finally, we click on Play to start the game.

Since it is the first run, we wait as the system downloads the proper files, straight to the USB...

...and a couple of minutes later, we are on the main menu.

With a good enough USB flash drive, it will be the same as if we played off of the HDD.

Since we run the program once, we can now play offline on any PC with the same version of Windows, no matter which drive letter the USB flash gets, e.g. M: for Minecraft.

It won't even ask for the account credentials anymore; the one time was enough.

Provided, of course, that the PC can run Minecraft in the first place.

Just remember, before pulling out the USB, to do a proper ejection.

We don't want to risk having any data corruption on our worlds and saved games.

Run portable Minecraft on other Windows

The first time we add the flash on another version of Windows than the one we created it, Minecraft will again need internet access to download a new runtime.

After that, we are good to go. Portable Minecraft will not need internet access again to run on Windows 7, and it will still run on Windows 10.

We will also find all of our saved worlds, as we left them.

The possibilities of portable Minecraft

The most important lesson from the portable Minecraft project is that everything we do in the game resides in this single .minecraft folder.

This makes it exceptionally easy to create a full backup. Just make a copy the .minecraft folder.

We can also copy the entire "Minecraft Portable" folder from the USB stick to anywhere on the disk, and we can run Minecraft from there, using the batch file.

How to Create Portable Minecraft - Make a USB stick to Play Anywhere 23

Now it's easier than ever to try new mods without risking our main game or take Minecraft with us at a friend's house, for LAN multiplayer.

Going the extra mile: Getting a Minecraft icon for the USB

This is purely aesthetical, and it won't make the slightest difference in the game. Wouldn't it be cool, though, if the USB thumb drive had a Minecraft inspired icon?

We just need to find such an icon on the Internet. A good place to search is Easyicon.net.

We select one we like and download it as a .ico file. Most icons are free for personal use.

We copy the ico file at the root of the USB drive...

...and rename it to minecraft (minecraft.ico if you can see the extensions on your system).

For the last step, we open a new notepad file, copy and paste this text...

[AutoRun] icon=minecraft.ico

...and save it as autorun.inf at the root of the USB drive, with the "All Files" type selected.

Next time we insert the USB, we will get a cool Minecraft icon.

Mind you, though, that some antivirus suites delete the autorun.inf within a USB on sight, because it is a file that a lot of USB-borne malware use.

Will you create a portable Minecraft?

If you found the portable Minecraft project interesting and would like to see more Minecraft-themed guides on PCsteps, leave us a comment.

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What’s more fun than the creative block-building in Minecraft? Building whenever and wherever you want with a portable Minecraft installation on a flash drive you can take with you. Read on as we detail how to configure a portable copy of Minecraft for build-anywhere fun.

Why Do I Want to Do This?

A standard Minecraft installation parks your Minecraft game data in a system directory and, until a very recent update to the Minecraft launcher that not all players have taken advantage of yet, relies on a local installation of Java.

RELATED:Minecraft Doesn't Need Java Installed Anymore; It's Time to Uninstall Java

Today we’re looking at two methods for turning your Minecraft experience into a portable one that allows you to not only park Minecraft and all your Minecraft data on a removable drive but, even if you’re not bent on taking it on the road with a flash drive, to easily back up and restore your entire Minecraft experience in one swoop as all the files are contained in one directory.

We run our installation of Minecraft as a portable installation for the latter reason; yes, it’s great that we can take it anywhere but the best part is we can back up everything by simply copying one directory.

To achieve this end of easily portability/back up we’ll walk you through two techniques. First we’ll look at how to take a vanilla copy of Minecraft and make it portable and then we’ll look at the more advanced MultiMC launcher that offers a more robust and flexible Minecraft management experience (and also lends itself very well to serving as a portable launcher).

We’d encourage you to read through the entire tutorial before following along with us so you can decide whether you want the vanilla Minecraft experience of the flexibility of the MultiMC launcher.

Note: the steps in this tutorial are Windows-centric but the general principles can easily be adapted to Mac and Linux machines; both Minecraft and MultiMC are cross platform.

Selecting and Preparing Your Flash Drive

You can follow this tutorial with any quality removable media (or even follow it just to make a portable Minecraft folder on your main hard drive), but we opted to turn one of the flash drives we had laying around into a dedicated Minecraft portable drive with a Minecraft themed icon, naturally.

As far as drive selection goes, this is not the time to recycle that 512MB USB 1.1 drive you have sitting in the bottom of a desk drawer. Given how inexpensive they are, a good USB 3.0 flash drive with a decent amount of storage (8GB minimum) is in order.

To give you a sense of perspective on how much space you need a vanilla Minecraft install with only a few small worlds will take up approximately 300-500MB but once you start building out/exploring large worlds, adding in mods, downloading elaborate maps, and so forth you can easily max out an 8GB drive. Our main Minecraft directory, packed with maps, mods, and useful Minecraft-related apps weighs in at around 14GB.

If you’re looking for a drive with plenty of room for Minecraft plus whatever other files you want to carry along with you there are tons of highly rated USB 3.0 drive to choose from on Amazon like this SandDisk Ultra Fit low-profile flash drive (available in 16/32/64GB sizes for $10/$16/$29, respectively).

With your flash drive selected, if you want to follow along in our purely cosmetic footsteps and add custom icon to your portable Minecraft flash drive the process is very straight forward. First, you need to locate an appropriate icon to use. Although you could fuss around with creating your own .ico file we just searched for “Minecraft” over at EasyIcon.net and downloaded an icon we liked in .ico format.

Once downloaded we copied it to our flash drive and renamed it minecraft.ico. With the icon on the drive you just need a little bit of code to prompt Windows to use the .ico file as the drive icon. Create a text document in the root of the flash drive and paste the following code into it.


Save the file as autorun.inf. The next time you insert the flash drive it will load the specified icon as the drive icon and, as seen in the screenshot above, you’ll have a cool little Minecraft icon in place of the generic drive icon.

There is a small amount of additional prep work required but it is dependent on which version of the tutorial you follow (vanilla Minecraft or MultiMC) so we’ve separated the additional steps out into their respective subcategories.

Configuring Vanilla Minecraft for Portability

There are two hurdles to successfully running vanilla Minecraft as a portable application. First, we need to tell Minecraft to look for its game data in a local directory and not in a system wide application data directory as it does with a default installation. Second, we need to force it to use a local copy of Java instead of the java system variable (if Java is even installed on the host system we’re later running it on). Let’s create the necessary folder structure and then look at how we can easily clear the aforementioned hurdles.

Creating the Directory Structure

Not only are tidy directory structures useful for knowing exactly where your stuff is they also make creating the shortcuts and batch files that make the portable Minecraft magic happen much easier.

In the root directory of your flash drive create a directory called “Minecraft Portable” and then within that folder create two subdirectories called “bin” and “data.”  The directories are mapped out below for visual reference.


.  /Minecraft Portable/

. .  /bin/

. .  /data/

With the above directories in place it’s time to populate them with the necessary files. The “bin” folder will house our executable files and the “data” folder will house all our Minecraft data (world files, resource packs, and so on).

Populating the Directory Structure

The first stop is to either grab a fresh copy of the Minecraft.exe from the Minecraft website or grab the copy you’re currently using on your PC. We recommend getting a fresh copy from the official website as this tutorial relies on you using the updated launcher that supports localized Java.

RELATED:How to Back Up Your Minecraft Worlds, Mods, and More

Download the file but do not run it. Place the file, Minecraft.exe, in the folder /Minecraft Portable/bin/.

Next you can copy your existing Minecraft data folder from your computer or create a new directory for fresh installation. If you wish to use your existing Minecraft data copy the “.minecraft” folder (you can find the folder in your Windows application data folder, easily accessed by pressing WinKey+R to open the run dialogue box and then entering, sans quotation marks, “%appdata%” in the run box). If you wish to start fresh, simply create the directory “.minecraft” inside the “data” folder.

Note: Windows is very particular about creating folders and files starting with a “.”; in order to create your “.minecraft” folder without Windows yelling at you, append the end of the folder name with another “.” like “.minecraft.” and it will automatically remove the trailing mark and allow you to create the folder “.minecraft” without complaint.


.  /Minecraft Portable/

. .  /bin/

. . .  Minecraft.exe

. .  /data/

. . .  .minecraft

At this point you should have a directory structure that looks like the map above with the Minecraft executable and game data directories nested in the appropriate subdirectories.

Creating the Batch File

The magic glue that holds together our little portability stunt here is a batch file. We need to both launch Minecraft and simultaneously create a temporary association wherein Minecraft can use the local data folder we created as an application data folder instead of defaulting back to the system wide application data folder.

To that end we need to create a launcher batch file that sets a temporary variable for the APPDATA value. Navigate to the /Minecraft Portable/ folder and create a new text document. Paste the following text into it.

set APPDATA=%CD%\data

Save the document and rename it “portableminecraft.bat”.  If the Minecraft launcher doesn’t automatically launch, you may wish to add an additional line “PAUSE” to the batch file so keep the command window open so you can review any errors. Assuming you’ve used the exact directory structure we’ve specified and created your batch file correctly the launcher should run, automatically download the components you need, and prompt you to log in with your Minecraft account.

If you peek into the “bin” and “data” folders at this point you’ll notice several new subfolders. The “bin” folder now has folders for the launcher.jar,  runtimes, and a log file. The “data” folder now has a “java” folder and then, in the “.minecraft” folder the first directories created to house game data. (If you copied your existing “.minecraft” folder from your computer all those directories will be already populated.)

Go ahead and log into your Minecraft account as we need to access the launcher and profile data in the next step to confirm that it is using the local appdata and Java instances.

Checking Your Configuration

If you’ve done everything correctly up to this point you shouldn’t even need to check your configuration as all the default settings should be perfect. None the less we’re going to check it anyway just to ensure you’re using the local appdata and Java instances so you don’t end up taking your flash drive with you tomorrow and, once at a friend’s house, discover all your stuff is actually back on your computer at home.

Run the portableminecraft.bat (if you don’t already have it open from the last section) and wait for the profile screen to load (displayed after you log into your account). Look down at the bottom for the profile selection menu and the edit button, as seen in the screenshot below.

Click on “Edit Profile” to bring up the profile menu. Within the profile menu you need to check Profile Info -> Game Directory and Java Settings (Advanced) -> Executable.

Both of these locations should point to the \Minecraft Portable\ folder (into the \data\.minecraft\ and \bin\runtime\ folders respectively). If the game directory does not point to your flash drive then you need to return to the batch file creation section of this tutorial and ensure that your APPDATA variable points to the location of the “.minecraft” folder on your flash drive.

The Java executable entry should, by default because we’re using the new launcher, point to the location on your flash drive as Minecraft now localizes java. If it does not, check the box and manually look in the \bin\ folder for the subdirectory containing javaw.exe and set it as the executable.

Once everything checks out and both values above point to your removable media then it’s time to play! Click the play button on the main launcher pane and wait for the required game files and assets to download to your portable Minecraft directory.

Although we anticipated a performance hit for running the game off a flash drive, other than a few stutters when the map first loaded everything ran super smoothly. The consistent 75 FPS matches the the same performance we get when playing Minecraft from our main hard drive.

Configuring MultiMC for Portability

First off, if you’re not familiar with MultiMC at all then we’d strongly encourage you to read our guide to installing it here. By checking out the guide you’ll get a good sense of whether or not you want to use it and the guide covers the application in depth well beyond the scope of this tutorial.

RELATED:How to Manage Minecraft Instances and Mods with MultiMC

In short, MultiMC is, as the name suggests, a tool for managing multiple instances of Minecraft. If you want to set up what amounts to super profiles with distinct game data folders for maps, mods, and more, then MultiMC is where it’s at.

Installing Portable Java

By its very nature MultiMC is portable as it stores all the Minecraft data in a central location. The only weakness in the current MultiMC release (0.4.5 as of this tutorial) is that it has not yet updated to handle the new local java feature Minecraft rolled out with the recent installer update. This means if your host computer doesn’t have Java installed, you’re out of luck (and even if it does you’ll need to fiddle with changing settings when you launch MultiMC on it).

There are two approaches you can take to fixing this problem. You could install a portable version of Java ala the jPortable installer found over at PortableApps.com, but we prefer to just use the portable version that Mojang is pushing out.

How you handle accessing the Mojang-packaged version that ships with Minecraft is a personal choice. One method is to simply dual install both vanilla Minecraft (as we did in the previous section) and MultiMC (as we’re doing in this section) and then point MultiMC at the Mojang supplied Java bundle. The other method would be to copy the /java/ directory off the Minecraft directory on your PC. The former technique is preferable as it allows you to update the Java bundle in place by simply running the vanilla Minecraft launcher.

Pointing MultMC at the Portable Java

Regardless of whether you install a separate copy (like jPortable), piggyback on the portable copy you installed in the previous section, or copy over the java directory from your main Minecraft installation on your computer, we need to show MultiMC where to find it.

Again, because we covered MultiMC in-depth in our full length tutorial we’re not going to dig into all the features here. We are, however, going to run through installing it and where you need to adjust the Java directory path. Download MultiMC here and extract it the contents of the zip file to the root directory of your flash drive.

Open the MultiMC folder and run it. You’ll be prompted to select which version of Java you want to use (if Java is installed on the system) or warned that it is not installed.

It doesn’t matter which version (or any) you select at this point so feel free to just select one and click “OK” to get the screen to go away. We’re about to change it anyway so whatever selection you make is irrelevant.

After you’re in the main MultiMC dashboard, select the Settings button from the toolbar (the computer icon, highlighted in the screenshot above.

Select “Java” in the left hand navigation panel. In the Java menu click on the “. . .” button next to the “Java path:” entry. Browse on your flash drive to the location of the javaw.exe file. If you’ve followed along with our tutorial in the previous section then you’ll have a nice fresh copy of Java courtesy of Mojang that you can find in the following directory.

/Minecraft Portable/bin/runtime/jre-x64/1.8.0_25/bin/javaw.exe

Now, and this is the critical step, you need to strip away the drive letter designation from the front of thepath now found in the “Java path:” box in order to create a pseudo relative path such that as your flash drive’s letter assignment changes MultiMC is not thrown off looking for the Java executable in the wrong location.

After you’ve browsed to the Java executable the path in the “Java path:” box will look like:

K:/Minecraft Portable/bin/runtime/jre-x64/1.8.0_25/bin/javaw.exe

Where K: could be F, H, or whatever letter Windows has assigned to your flash drive. Simply remove the drive letter and colon so that the entry in the box and MultiMC will look for the files relative to the drive it is located on:

/Minecraft Portable/bin/runtime/jre-x64/1.8.0_25/bin/javaw.exe

When you’re done press the “Test” button and confirm that the version of Java it reports matches the version of Java in the box (in the screenshot above and in our test it read 1.8.0_25.

The real test, of course, is to actually run Minecraft through MultiMC with the portable version of Java. Click “Save” at the bottom of the settings menu, return to the main MultiMC dashboard, right click to “Create instance” and create a copy of Minecraft (again, for a detailed walkthrough see this tutorial).

Run the instance by double clicking on it and take it for a spin.

Same version of Minecraft as the previous section, same version of Java, running on the same machine, loaded up in a new map and with the whole thing managed by MultiMC: exact same smooth 75FPS performance. Success!

Portable Minecraft Tips and Tricks

Whether you’ve opted to go with the standard Minecraft launcher installation or the MultiMC installation launcher there are a few tips and tricks we think you’ll find enhance your portable Minecraft experience.

Use a high-quality flash drive: As we’ve already emphasized, make sure you’re using a high-quality flash drive and, when possible, plug it into a USB 3.0 port. Although during most play you shouldn’t have a problem with a slower flash drive on a USB 2.0 port if you do a lot of exploring (especially in creative mode where you can fly and quickly cover ground) you’ll want the best connection possible as the chunk generation that occurs when you rapidly explore the map can be quite taxing on a slow connection.

RELATED:How to Install Minecraft Mods to Customize Your Game

Don’t be afraid to copy the files, temporarily, to the host’s HDD: If you’re planning on using the host computer for more than a single short play session (and you have permission from the computer’s owner to do so) it makes a lot of sense to copy over the files from the flash drive to get a right-off-the-HDD speed boost. Remember how we talked about the ease in which you can backup your Minecraft files when the whole install is portable? Just copy the relevant Minecraft directories right from your flash drive to the host computer and then, when you’re done, return them before going home.

If you have the space, keep fresh copies of the work you’ve just done: There’s a very good chance that when your Minecraft-loving friends and family hear about your portable Minecraft install they’re going to want a copy themselves. Sure you can direct them to this article so they understand how it works, but it’s also easy to just dump a fresh copy right onto their desktops or flash drives. Before you go wild customizing your portable Minecraft installation with all your own personal worlds and such, if you have the space on your flash drive to do so make a directory like “Original Backup” or “Fresh Copy” and dump a copy of everything you’ve created, sans your login information, into the folder. It’ll make sharing a simple copy and paste affair.

Keep your maps, resource packs, and mods, tidy and organized: One of the benefits of playing with a portable Minecraft copy is that you’ll often find yourself at a friend’s house with it. That same friend is probably going to be pretty interested in the cool maps, resource packs, and mods you’ve accumulated. A well organized directory structure (see the subsection in this article, “Practicing Good Mod Organization” for ideas) makes it super easy to find what you need and share it.

Don’t forget to update Java: Sure the security risks from a stand-alone version of Java that is only used for Minecraft are practically nonexistent, but if you don’t at least check in once a month or so to see if Mojang has pushed out a new portable Java install then you’ll miss out on potential performance boosts and bug fixes.

Armed with a well stocked flash drive, a Swiss Army knife-like launcher like MultiMC, and the tips and tricks we’ve outlined in this tutorial and you’ll always have Minecraft in your pocket and ready to play on PCs near and far.


Sours: https://www.howtogeek.com/215082/how-to-play-minecraft-from-a-flash-drive-for-block-building-fun-anywhere/
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