Minecraft Launcher Crash

A few days ago, I ran into some significant problems that took up a good deal of time in trouble-shooting for days. At this point, it is difficult to know for sure the root cause of the problems because so many different things were updated the same day, if not virtually the same time, but I’m fairly certain a major contributor was the new Minecraft Launcher. I saw the issue was acknowledged for Xbox Game Pass paid subscribers, but I am not one of them, however, the download process did require a login Microsoft account and went to the Xbox profile so maybe it is the same issue.

The series of changes that I did on the two computers include downloading and attempting to install the new Minecraft Launcher, upgrade to Windows 11 on my laptop (got the invitation), installing two cumulative updates to Windows 10 on the old desktop that does not qualify for upgrade.

Coincidentally, my invitation to upgrade to Windows 11 came the same day as the notice of the new Minecraft Launcher and that is the day the problems started.

I decided to upgrade to the new Minecraft Launcher first because I thought it would be relatively fast and I was curious to see what it was about given the hype in the notice. I also was not sure how long the upgrade to Windows 11 would take. When trying to download and install the new launcher it got hung up and never completely installed. When I checked the Microsoft Store it just showed pending, along with 6 other apps, most of which I never use and don’t care at all about. The download/install process never finished. I had the same problem on the desktop.

Back on the laptop, I just gave up and decided to do the upgrade to Windows 11. That went relatively smoothly including, not surprisingly, some updates immediately available.

When I tried to install the new Minecraft Launcher again in Windows 11, it worked and for a day I was able to launch and play Minecraft as normal. Then a couple of days later, when opening the launcher and clicking ‘play’ the whole system crashed all the way to the proverbial “blue screen” (now a dark gray screen in Windows 11). After waiting a minute or two for automatic reporting of the issue, Windows 11 rebooted and all but the launcher worked fine. I tried three times that day to open the launcher, each with the same crash and reboot result, so I quit using the new launcher and reinstalled the old one. Both launcher versions remain installed on my laptop and, fortunately, the old one works fine.

After waiting another day, I tried again to see if it was fixed and ended up with the crash again, so I have not even tried since. Maybe someday I’ll check online forums to see if it has been fixed, but I don’t really care that much because I’m fine with the old launcher and it appeared the new one was more for gamers who want to play on more than one platform and the rest of the new stuff was basically notification hype. Not interested!

Meanwhile on the desktop, the install process never completed. I ended up stopping it which meant deleting the download. The other six apps also never completed download/install so I had more work to do to figure out what was wrong, but that is another story for another post.

As of right now, I am still running the old Minecraft launcher on both machines and finding it works just fine for my use. It is a bit annoying to see the notice every time that there is a new launcher to download (on the desktop), and that as well as a second notice (on the laptop) that says it is installed, that I have to dismiss every time. So far, it is not annoying enough to just uninstall the new launcher as I did on the Windows 10 machine.

Minecraft Mods

Note: In this post, I use the word ‘mods’ loosely to mean any modification of the default version of Minecraft.

For a long time, I never changed anything other than tweaking a few settings of the default version of Minecraft. Then one of my grandsons introduced me to a few mods he used and I liked them enough to try them.

The one I currently find most useful, OptiFine, is really a modified ‘version’ of Minecraft. It requires installation and then appears in the list of versions available in the Minecraft launcher. I use it mostly to improve the performance of the game, especially increasing the FPS (frames per second). A few other features are also useful, particularly the way a torch lights up the area when selected in the hotbar – handy in caves!

Recently I started using some resource packs again. The first one I added, Dramatic Skies, modifies the clouds, sun, and moon to be more realistic looking. The clouds look like real clouds and the sun and moon appear round instead of the standard square block in the sky. It works best when the default Minecraft clouds setting is turned off so the regular Minecraft cloud blocks do not get in the way.

More recently I decided to look for one of the other resource packs I used a long time ago to see if it had an updated version. Unfortunately, the one I used to use exclusively (along with OptiFine) is no longer up to date. In fact, the last Minecraft version R3D CRAFT works with is 1.12. That dates to 2017. Whoever developed it has obviously moved on. I’m still disappointed because it was so good.

The other resource pack I used sometimes when the R3D CRAFT mod needed updating was ‘Faithful’. It improved the default visual look of the blocks, etc. while still keeping the basic Minecraft look. In searching for it again, I found and tried Faithful HD512, because I thought an HD version would be the best, but I did not really like some of the textures. So, after looking at six or seven other resource packs at resourcepack.net, I finally settled on Faithful 32×32 because it appears to be the same as what I remember, but updated for the latest Minecraft version.

Over the years, I’ve tried various other resource packs, but have settled on these as the best for my visual enjoyment for now.

Minecraft Versions

I do not remember when Microsoft/Mojang began calling the PC version I’ve been playing for years the Java Edition, but that is the one I use with both my accounts. As I mentioned in the last post, I tried the Windows 10 Edition when it first came out, but was disappointed in several aspects of it, so have not even tried it since.

I took a couple of minutes to go back and check to see what Java Edition version of Minecraft I was playing when I last posted anything about Minecraft on this blog. It was version 1.13.1 Update Aquatic as best I can tell. There was one minor update of it to 1.13.2 before the next new version was released.

Much has happened with the various versions since then, each one with some unique new features. Because the Minecraft Fandom Wiki has a good deal of useful information, I will just make a few editorial comments under the listing of names and links of the releases rather than going into detailed descriptions.

  • 1.14 through 1.14.4 Village & Pillage
    • I found this mostly annoying. It took getting used to the village changes, especially the availability of crops. Before this update, all three basic crops (potatoes, carrots, wheat) were present in virtually every village. It also took a little time to learn to deal with the new hostile mobs.
  • 1.15 through 1.15.2 Buzzy Bees
    • This one is not terribly interesting. I rarely bother with honey, etc.
  • 1.16 through 1.16.5 Nether Update
    • This update apparently was long awaited by many gamers, I do not normally spend much time in the nether, so all I’ve done is a little exploration to see the new stuff.

The current version is 1.17.1 and I am playing it while I wait for the second release (1.18) of what is called Caves & Cliffs. It will probably be released late in the year.

So far, this version has been only mildly interesting. Many of the additions are not items I will use much and since I am more of a “dig-down” miner followed by systematic mining at level 11, I have not found many of the cave items that were added. I suppose while I wait for 1.18, I may try doing more cave exploration from surface cave openings to find and see more of the new sights.

Minecraft Account Migration

Last fall Microsoft/Mojang announced their plan to require all Minecraft accounts to login via a Microsoft account instead of the Mojang account. I believe their stated intention was to eventually eliminate the Mojang account. It was a while ago so I don’t remember all the details, but as I recall the primary reason was for better security.

Earlier this summer a notice began to appear on the Minecraft launcher screen that they had begun to migrate accounts from Mojang to Microsoft. The first time that notice popped up I read the explanation of how to get that done and then waited for my turn.

I have two Minecraft accounts dating back several years. I bought the second one so that visitors here could play with me via LAN even if they did not have their own Minecraft account. Over the years it has not been all that useful because those I play with have their own accounts, but there is no point in worrying about that now.

The reason I mention that here is my second account turned out to be the first one to be migrated. I went through the process and found it relatively easy to do. The only disappointment was the weird name I was assigned for my Xbox gamer tag. It is disappointing that one cannot choose your own tag when migrating. Anyway, I got the migration done the same day that account was eligible.

More recently my original Minecraft account was finally eligible for migration, so I did it same day again. This time the Xbox gamer tag turned out to be the same name assigned years ago when I tried the Windows 10 Minecraft version, which was a bit of a surprise, but after more thought, I think it kind of makes sense. In the process this time I discovered one can change the Xbox gamer tag one time with no charge, but if you want to do it again, it costs $9.99 each subsequent time. Changing names was somewhat challenging, but long story short I eventually got both my gamer tags changed to the same as their on-screen name.

Most disappointing is the fact that there appears to be no way to change the icon that goes with the login. Maybe there is a way I have not found yet. I’ll probably try again sometime when I am looking for some diversion.

Mild Disappointment

I suppose it might be a little too soon to complain about the next Minecraft update, but that won’t stop me.

The Minecraft team announced late last September that the next version of the Java Edition (1.14, Village and Pillage) would be released “early in the new year”, but no more announcements since. All we have seen is brief blurbs on some of the new features, but much of that is not really new information for me.

Here we are in late January, just a week from February, and by now I was expecting at least some announcement on the projected release date. Truth be told, I was really hoping for early to mid-January for it to be available, but…

So far, I have yet to try any of the 1.14 snapshots as I did with the 1.13 Aquatic Update. I’m thinking I may try the latest one sometime in the next few days while I wait.

To offset some of the disappointment with Minecraft, February 14 is rapidly approaching. That is the announced date for the release of the Civ VI second major expansion, Gathering Storm.

Over the last several weeks since they announced the date, they have gradually introduced some of the new civs that will be included. More are yet to come. (Their marketing team knows how to build the enthusiasm!)

Meanwhile, after taking a couple of months off, I have been playing the Rise and Fall version to get re-acquainted with the intricacies of the game so I can focus on learning all the new things when Gathering Storm is released.

I’m pretty sure they will not offer any discounts between now and then for the new expansion, but I still am likely to wait until the release date to buy it, just in case.

Minecraft

The first time I played Minecraft, one grandson had me play on their laptop using another person’s login. He coached me on how to do various things including how to get through the first day and night in survival mode. Soon the other grandson asked to open the game up to the LAN and he joined the game. As a result, I learned quickly how the game can become a multiplayer game almost instantly. From that simple beginning I was hooked, and immediately downloaded, installed and bought my own Minecraft login. (Mojang, the creator of Minecraft, establishes a permanent login after you purchase the game. You can then download the game and install it on as many computers as you wish.)

Not long after that first experience, the older of the two grandsons established his own server using MCHosting as the platform for it. That meant all three of us could play online together no matter where we were. I don’t recall the exact timing, but probably within a year I decided to use the same hosting service and created my own server so I could learn more about that aspect of gaming and technology.

I, in turn, introduced Minecraft to my son and his daughter and they quickly decided they wanted it as well, so they both got their own login accounts and off we went. I now had two households in different states to play Minecraft with and several times all five of us were playing on one or another of our servers from three different states hundreds of miles apart.

My son tried a different hosting service when he set up his server (GGServers) and it had quite a bit lower monthly fee, so I decided to add a second server for myself and explore the two hosting services to see which one I liked best never intending to keep more than one server for very long. Eventually I settled on keeping the MCHosting because it was a little better overall and generally had less lag. I attributed that to my server location being at their Chicago hub while the GGServers server was in Montreal, much farther away.

As the grandsons have grown – one in second year of college, the other a high school senior – we have done less gaming together, but I still have some fun gaming with my son and granddaughter, who is in middle school and continues to enjoy several games. She, of course, does most of her gaming with her friends, which is appropriate.

As a result of the lower demand for it, I have discontinued having my own server. We now mostly play when we are in the same location and LAN works just fine.

I, on the other hand, continue to thoroughly enjoy playing Minecraft in single player mode, trying out new things and building new structures. Each major Minecraft update adds more features to explore and the latest version, officially called Update Aquatic (1.13.1), is no exception, with all the water features and creatures.

 

Gaming Overview

Several years ago, my grandsons introduced me to more sophisticated computer gaming than the simple free stuff like Solitaire. The first game they showed me in detail and had me try was Minecraft. It remains one of my favorite games and I highly recommend it for all sorts of reasons, not the least being how open-ended it is leaving virtually all of what happens to the player. It is a terrific tool for developing creativity.

Before long we also were playing World of Warships (shortly after it first became available). The grandsons had already been playing World of Tanks and wanted to try the Warships. After learning how to play World of Warships and enjoying it, especially with the grandsons, I decided to add and learn World of Tanks so I could play that with them also. Both games are free and can be easily downloaded and installed.

About the time Civilization V was released in its final expansion (2015), younger grandson talked me into buying it so he and I could play it in multiplayer mode. I did so and quickly became a fan of the game. We eventually convinced older grandson to get the game too. We’ve had a lot of fun playing together, using the audio only of Skype to be able to talk with each other while playing. Very recently we have used Discord instead of Skype, because of its better-quality audio experience while gaming.

Installing Civ V introduced me to Steam, a digital game distribution platform, and over time I have added various other games they distribute – Cities: Skylines, Rocket League, Stellaris – and more recently Europa Universalis IV and Civilization VI – again mostly because the grandsons were playing them and it was great fun keeping up a long-distance relationship with them via gaming.

I’ve always enjoyed playing various board games since I was a kid, so the transition to complex computer games was not difficult. One board game that I have enjoyed in its electronic version is Settlers of Catan. Microsoft games owns the rights of the electronic version, and one has to buy a license for the game to play it on a computer, but that is another game well worth the price.

I expect to continue gaming, especially having just invested in a replacement gaming laptop.