A Step-by-Step Guide on Installing Optifine in Minecraft (2021)

Ask any veteran player “how do I make Minecraft look better?” Without a doubt, they will answer ‘OptiFine’. In this guide, we will run through what exactly OptiFine can do, how to install OptiFine in Minecraft, and troubleshoot a few common issues you might be having along the way.

What is Optifine in Minecraft?
OptiFine is a ‘Minecraft Optimisation Mod’ which focuses on FPS, gameplay, lag reduction, and graphics improvement. It prompts the game to run faster with several optimization configurations, while simultaneously offering full support for Shaders, HD textures, and a myriad of helpful gameplay features. Among other things, OptiFine offers:

– An FPS boost (which is often double that of the base game on any given system)
– Dynamic Lighting
– More Render Distance Options
– Better Grass, Snow, and Water blocks
– Zoom Options (Especially useful if you have a high-quality Minecraft gaming mouse)
– Full-Screen Resolution
– Time Controls
– Animation Customizations

But, of course, the most popular feature is how OptiFine transforms Minecraft’s lighting system. If you need a quick primer on lighting, here is our guide to the Best Minecraft light sources you can use anywhere!

How to Install Optifine
Step 1: Installing Java
If you have decided to try your Optifine installation without first consulting a guide, you may have noticed the file type came out looking like this: [screenshot]. This is because you must first download and install Java. Luckily, most people will already have it downloaded and never have this problem, but if you are setting up a new build there is a chance you do not. To do so, simply head over the Java website: https://whatifgaming.com/how-to-install-optifine-in-minecraft/. Simply find your way to the large red button titled ‘Agree and Start Free Download’, click it, and follow the instructions until it is installed. Don’t worry if you get a warning that the file may not be safe. So long as you are sourcing it from the official Java website linked above, it is safe. Open the Java Installer by double-clicking it. Be prepared to allow it user control access. Don’t worry, it is a reputable program. So long as you have downloaded it from the official channel linked above, there is little chance of any issue arising. Simply hit ‘Install’. After a few moments, if all goes well, you will get a successfully installed message.

Step 2: Downloading Optifine
Once Java has been installed, how can you install OptiFine? The process is extremely easy, but the tricky part might be finding the right version. It is easy enough to download the latest version and run into few problems, so long as you keep your Minecraft up to date. First, head over to the official OptiFine website: https://whatifgaming.com/how-to-install-optifine-in-minecraft/. Simply locate the latest version (in this case, Minecraft 1.16.5) and click the ‘Download’ button. You will be redirected to an advertisement, but after waiting a few seconds an option will become available at the top of the screen to ‘Skip’. From there, simply click the ‘Download’ button. Be careful: there are a few similar buttons that lead to ads. However, if you run outdated versions of Minecraft, you will need to instead hit the ‘Show all versions’ prompt, which will let you download older versions of OptiFine. Simply locate the version you wish to download and follow the same instructions as above. Be sure not to click any of the ads, as they will disguise themselves as alternative download buttons.

Step 3: Installing Optifine
Once OptiFine is downloaded, find the file and double click to open it, if you run into any issues here right-click the file and choose “open with Java”. The OptiFine Installer window should appear, which looks something like this: [screenshot]. Just hit ‘Install’ and after a few seconds, you should see a notification letting you know that the install was a success.

Step 4: Launching Minecraft with OptiFine
At this point, you may be wondering: “wait… is that it?” Although OptiFine used to be a bit of a hassle to get working, it is now as easy as simply making sure all the components are installed and launching Minecraft with OptiFine. To do so, simply open the Minecraft Installer, click the little arrow and select OptiFine, then hit that play button. You may be given a safety notification that looks like this: [screenshot]. Since OptiFine is technically a third-party modified version of the official software, it is not licensed by Mojang. This message isn’t to be feared. But if you have downloaded the program from the official website listed above, there should be no player safety risks. It may take a second to initiate, but if you have done so correctly Minecraft should launch like this: [screenshot]. You will know OptiFine has launched instead of the base version by the ‘(Modded)’ notation next to the version it is based on, as in the image above. As you enter the ‘Video Settings…’ folder, you will also see the version of OptiFine you are currently running.

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Step 5: Getting Started with OptiFine
Downloading OptiFine itself was only the beginning. Now you have done so, it is time to start installing some awesome Shaders to get your game looking awesome! To do so, click on the ‘Options…’ button. Next, find ‘Video Settings…’ And then open ‘Shaders…’ From here, you can click the ‘Shaders Folder’ button, which will immediately go to the Minecraft directory and locate where you must go to install shaders. Shaders are installed much like Resource or Texture Packs. Simply drag and drop your downloaded shaders into the Shaders Folder, restart the game, and then activate the shaders pack in the ‘Shaders…’ menu in ‘Video Settings…’ Alternatively, you can download Shader presets directly from the OptiFine website, available to access from inside the ‘Shaders…’ menu.

Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my computer not recognizing the OptiFine file type?
If your computer is failing to recognize the .jar file type, it is likely because you have not downloaded and installed the latest version of Java. However, even if you have the latest version of Java installed, your computer still may not know to use Java to open the .jar file type. If you double-click the program, you may be prompted to choose a program to open it with. If not, right-click and select ‘Open with’, choosing ‘Java™ Platform SE Binary’ when prompted.

What are the three editions of OptiFine and how can I install them?
This tutorial covered how to install ‘OptiFine Ultra’, the most functional of the OptiFine editions. It also contains several optimization features to increase performance and FPS, making it the ideal choice for those with regular gaming PCs. However, there are also the OptiFine Standard and OptiFine Light versions: ‘Standard’ is a compatibility option, designed to work with an array of third-party mods. ‘Light’ is a version for those with low-powered PCs, laptops, or notebooks, and does not feature any advanced features. It is also not compatible with ModLoader or Minecraft Forge. Although the Ultra version is available from the OptiFine website, the other two do not seem to currently be.

Does OptiFine come with Shader Pre-Sets?
OptiFine does not come with Shaders installed, but they can be downloaded from the OptiFine website. Alternatively, third-party shaders can be installed from the shaders folder. Both of these can easily be accessed from the ‘Shaders…’ menu inside ‘Video Settings…’

How powerful should my PC be for OptiFine?
OptiFine is one of the few Minecraft mods that is designed to make the game run better, so there is no PC you should not try it out on. However, if you are running an older PC, or a laptop or notebook, perhaps consider installing OptiFine Light. Not only will it still allow you to experiment with Shaders and graphics options, but it will also decrease lag and boost FPS.

Are there any hardware requirements for OptiFine?
OptiFine is designed to make Minecraft run more smoothly on your computer, so there are no hardware requirements except those for the base game. However, the zoom feature would be even more useful if used alongside a quality Minecraft gaming mouse. Finally, if you are looking for great ways to boost your Minecraft performance, here is our guide to Allocating More RAM to your Minecraft Server.

So, there you have it, the definitive guide to How to Install Optifine In Minecraft in 2021, along with the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Now you have access to awesome new video settings and improved performance in Minecraft. Happy gaming!

Updated at 7:06 - 01/08/2023
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