Minecraft’s a pretty awesome game on its own. I’m not sure I can even count the number of hours I’ve spent in a virtual world, happily building whatever structure happens to pique my interest. As with most PC games, though, user-generated content makes the experience all the better. Due likely in part to the game’s programming language (java’s a pretty common one) as well as the creative nature of the title, Minecraft’s got an incredibly active modding community – it certainly helps that Mojang, the developer, actively encourages this community – there’s an entire section on the Minecraft forums devoted to modders and map designers.

While some mods might require you to take very specific steps (I know at least a few require additional mods to be installed before they’ll function), in general, the installation process is as follows:

  1. Download the latest version of the mod from a mod directory, or from the mod’s official updates thread on the Minecraft Forums. Chances are, it’s going to be in a .zip or .rar file.
  2. Using archival software (I use 7zip, myself), open up the .zip file. Leave it open for now- you’ll need it in a moment.
  3. Navigate to Minecraft’s installation directory. The easiest way to do this is to type %appdata%/.minecraft into the search bar in Windows Explorer.
  4. In the folder “.bin,” look for Minecraft.jar. Open it up using the same archival software you used to open up the mod.
  5. Copy all the files from the mod into the .jar. Wait for the process to complete, then close down your archival software.
  6. Boot up Minecraft. With any luck, you did things right, and the mod should be installed and good to go!

Do note that some mods will require additional steps in order to function (and still others will have a completely different installation process). Be sure that you read up on the mod you want to install before taking any steps so that you can be sure you do things right.  Also note that, whenever Mojang updates the Minecraft client, some or all of your mods might stop working altogether. If this happens, just check back every now and then to see if the developer’s released an update.

That’s pretty much all there is to it! Happy building!