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How to download Minecraft's alpha versions

Thanks to Minecraft's Java Edition launcher, players can now enjoy the test builds of yesteryear prior to version 1.0 (Image via Mojang)
Thanks to Minecraft's Java Edition launcher, players can now enjoy the test builds of yesteryear prior to version 1.0 (Image via Mojang)

In the past, Minecraft's early alpha and beta builds required some significant maneuvering to download and enjoy.

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Previously, those hoping to play previous Minecraft builds would occasionally have to download outdated versions via third-party sites, some of which weren't as helpful as they might have seemed.

Fortunately for Minecraft: Java Edition players, the game's current launcher allows them to relive the old days thanks to a feature built in the application. This feature can place players in previous builds, including alpha, beta, infdev, classic, and pre-classic versions that were released before Minecraft 1.0.


How to download and enable Minecraft's alpha with the launcher

Thanks to backwards compatibility from Mojang, Minecraft's previous versions can be accessed straight from their launcher (Image via Mojang)
Thanks to backwards compatibility from Mojang, Minecraft's previous versions can be accessed straight from their launcher (Image via Mojang)

For Minecraft: Java Edition players with a legal copy of the game, downloading the launcher and activating the necessary settings to enjoy the game's alpha is incredibly easy:

  1. Head to Minecraft's download page at Minecraft.net. The URL will differ depending on the player's region.
  2. Select the appropriate platform. Windows is the standard platform choice for Minecraft: Java Edition.
  3. Install the game using the setup file provided, and open Minecraft's launcher. It may need to update after opening.
  4. Enter the settings tab in the launcher.
  5. Tick the box next to the option that says "Show historical versions of Minecraft: Java Edition in launcher."
  6. Tab over to the "Installations" header.
  7. Select "New Installation."
  8. Here, players can select which build of Minecraft they would like to play. They can also name the installation, set a file directory, and select a resolution. Players may want to opt for a separate directory for these older versions of Minecraft in order to avoid any potential bugs or crashes with the primary installations.
  9. Once the installation has been created, select "Play" for the installation, and it will begin Minecraft in the selected build. There may also be a warning regarding player experience concerns, but this can be accepted.
  10. Enjoy! Be aware that although these builds are playable, they may contain bugs, errors, or other quality of life issues. Since these builds were used during testing phases before Minecraft's full release, players should exercise caution. This is why players should place the alpha/beta versions in separate directory folders in order to avoid any possible corruption of the standard up-to-date build.

For players who may not want to use Minecraft: Java Edition's launcher, Minecraft Classic is also an alternative.

Minecraft Classic is an early version of the game that can be played in a standard web browser with Java access. For those who may not want to mess with the launcher or any files, Minecraft Classic allows for a quick and simple nostalgic experience.


Read More: How to copy maps in Minecraft

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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