How to run a Jar file on Windows PC

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read
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A Jar file is a Java archive package format that might include a Java program within it. While you can extract Jars with archive software such as 7zip, you can’t run a pure Java Jar app as you would with other programs in Windows. Since that’s the case, we’ll cover how you can run a pure Java app Jar file in Windows.

Wondering how to add Java Jar to Windows? Here’s an explanation

  1. Add Java to Windows
  2. Open the Jar File with Java(TM) Platform SE binary
  3. Run a Jar File From the Windows Command Prompt
  4. Add a Third-Party Jar Executor to Windows
  5. Download this tool we highly recommend

1. Add Java to Windows

The crucial thing you need upfront is to have Java installed. Without it, Java apps aren’t going to run in Windows. This is how you can install, or update, Java in Windows:

  • First, open Command Prompt by pressing the Win key + R keyboard combination and entering ‘cmd‘ in the Prompt.
  • Next, input ‘java -version’ in the Command Prompt and press Enter. It will then provide further details on your Java version as below.

cmd java

  • The current version of Java is Version 8 Update 131. If you don’t have Java or the most up-to-date version, you can add Version 8 to Windows by pressing the Free Java Download button on this website page.
  • Run through the Java setup wizard below to add Java 8 to Windows. Then, open your browser to verify that Java is working.

java installer

2. Open the Jar File with Java(TM) Platform SE binary

  • With the latest version of Java, you can now run Jar files. Open the File Explorer and the folder that includes the file you need to run.
  • You should right-click the Jar file and select Open with from the context menu.
  • Click Choose another app and then select to open it with Java(TM) Platform SE binary.

how do you want to open this file

  • Click the Always use this app to open Jar files check box.
  • Press the OK button to close the menu.
  • Now you can run the selected Jar, and all other Jar files will also be associated with Java.

3. Run a Jar File From the Windows Command Prompt

  • Alternatively, you can run a Jar from the Command Prompt. Press the Win key + X hotkey and select Command Prompt (Admin) to open it as administrator.
  • Then input java ‘-jar c:pathtojarfile.jar’ in the CP and press Enter. Replace c:pathtojarfile.jar with the actual path and file title of the Jar you need to run in Windows.

run jar with cmd

  • Alternatively, you can open the folder that includes the Jar in the Command Prompt first by entering ‘cd /’ followed by the directory. Then, you can input ‘java -jar file.jar’ without the folder path.

That will open the executable Jar file so long as it contains a manifest file to specify the application’s entry point. (The developers should have already included that in the archive.) If you develop your own Java programs, you’ll need to convert the Jar to an executable format. 

4. Add a Third-Party Jar Executor to Windows

There are also executor programs for Windows that enable you to run Jar files the same as any other program. Jarx is one of the Jar executors you can add to Windows by clicking Jarx-1.2-installer.exe on this page. Click the jarx.exe to run the software, which doesn’t really have a GUI as such (except an About jarx window). Then you can double-click Jar files to run them in Windows.

5. Download this tool we highly recommend

You can open .jar files and other hundreds of different formats with a single application. FileViewer Plus is a universal file viewer for Windows that can open and display over 300 different file types.

The new updated version has a plethora of features that will save you big time on opening, viewing or editing files. There is a free fully-functional trial available to download, so you can test it yourself.

With all this, you can now run Jar files in Windows. If you need to fix a Jar file that isn’t opening, check out this Windows Report guide.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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