Step-by-Step Guide: Installing Minecraft Mods Without Forge

Are you a Minecraft player looking to enhance your gaming experience with mods but unsure how to do it without using Forge?

In this article, we will explore what mods are, why you might want to install them without Forge, and most importantly, how to do it step by step.

We will also discuss the risks involved in installing mods without Forge and how to avoid them. If you’re ready to take your Minecraft game to the next level, keep reading!

What Are Mods in Minecraft?

Mods are modifications created by players or fans of Minecraft that enhance the gameplay by changing various aspects and features. Minecraft mods offer personal adaptations, items, terrain, weapons, animals, and insects, as well as game mechanics and aesthetics such as shaders, models, GUIs, and the hops system.

The reason why many modders dislike adding these mods via Forge is the potential for errors to remain or arise. A common part of the installation process on this API is changing files within Minecraft, which can lead to corruption of these files and errors being generated, especially when installing many mods or mod packs simultaneously.

Why Install Mods Without Forge?

You might want to install mods in Minecraft without Forge if it is not compatible with your game version but you still want to have a mod-like experience when playing with friends etc. Minecraft server hosting services recommend only using the server software for the version you want to play to add or manage mods, which can make it tough to not use forge.

Forge/manual mod installation has some benefits but it is more complicated than working with Curseforge, Technic Launcher, Fabric ModLoader.

How to Install Mods Without Forge?

These are the steps to install Minecraft mods without Forge. There are tools and mod launchers that include Forge as well as mod loaders that remove Forge entirely. The latter is needed if you are looking for a totally Forge-free experience.

  1. Uninstall Forge: If you do not plan to install mods that require Forge anymore, uninstall Forge. Open the official Minecraft launcher, find Forge in the Installations tab, and remove it.
  2. Install Fabric: Fabric is a lightweight mod loader that is a Forge alternative and does not require its installation. You can download the Fabric mod loader from the FabricMC website. Similar to Forge, it needs to be selected in the launcher installation.
  3. Download Fabric mods: Locate Fabric-compatibile mods and download them same way as Forge.
  4. Install Fabric mods: On the mods screen, open the mods folder and place the Fabric-mod file in this location.
  5. Test mods: Open the Mod menu of Minecraft and the mods you installed should appear. Play them and enjoy.

You are now modding Minecraft without Forge. Fabric still allows for most mods, but it is much cleaner and more minimalist in appearance with a smaller overhead than Forge.

Step 1: Download the Mod

The first step in installing mods is downloading .jar mod files from official mod hosting sites or the creator’s official page. A handful of mods that were previously exclusive to CurseForge and other websites are available for download on GitHub. The mod page on Planet Minecraft will have a classier download solution as well.

If you do want to install mods available from CurseForge, you can simply download the .jar file and not have to interact with the desktop app.

There are several backup sites and rise of non-Forge options to consider. One backup source you can try is MCF Modlist. This site lists mods. Clicking on any mod takes you to a mod details page and a link for downloading the mod. Many of the mods are older 1.12.2 versions, but there are more recent version mods available as well. A few links will direct you to the author’s post on, which can be sketchy.

To install mods from the mods section of the CurseForge site, you’ll need to sign in with a Twitch account. They had a client which made things easy, but that has been sunsetted by Overwolf.

Step 2: Locate Your Minecraft Folder

How you locate your Minecraft folder is based on your Operating System. Once you have opened your modpack’s profiles to reveal the Game Directory, navigate to the launcher_profiles.json file. It will be in the .minecraft folder on windows and in the minecraft folder for MacOS.

Look for the Forge section at the bottom of the file to confirm the installation process. This should say "[...]name"forge"gameDir"[your Game Directory]"[...]"

Step 3: Create a Mods Folder

Create a mods folder in the Minecraft installation folder. It is instructive to place a shortcut to it on your desktop because you need quick access to this folder in order to move and rename the mods. There are two alternate cohorts of Mods structure that achieve the same thing. On one hand, the desktop shortcut to the mods folder allows for faster and more organized placement of the mods. Secondly, the continual manual addition of mods via the mods folder enables learning of how to organize a vast number of mods simultaneously. This is required in the event of accidental and complete deletion or corruption of the Minecraft profile, as this necessitates each mod be manually added to a new profile.

Step 4: Copy the Mod Files

If you see a folder for a mod and inside it more folders for config, textures, mods, etc., you can just copy the main folder like with Fabric mods. Find the directory that Minecraft Forge made on step 3. Drop your newly acquired mod files in the mods folder which made during step 3. Once that is finished, close all windows. End the Minecraft game if you already opened it. Nearly all Minecraft mods will automatically install if you start the game.

Step 5: Run Minecraft

Run Minecraft and click on Mod Options. If the newly created config file appears in the below windows, the mod appeared on the mod tab when you started the game successfully. If you don’t see it here, that means you made a mistake during the earlier steps and the mod loader failed to create the necessary files. Check the in the game log for errors or reinstall the loader.

Step 6: Check if the Mod is Working

Finally, launch Minecraft to see if your mod is working. The Minecraft loading screen should go through the mods you downloaded. If everything installed correctly, the mod should now be working in your game. Find a tree and if Treecapitator is installed and working, breaking lower blocks of a tree will make upper blocks free-fall. If the mod does not work, try to repeat the steps to install the mod in Minecraft, ensuring you are aware of what you did to determine the errors.

What Are the Risks of Installing Mods Without Forge?

The risks of installing mods in Minecraft without Forge include contract friction and decreased ease-of-use. When mods are installed without Forge, some Minecraft technicalities, such as version mismatches or artificial program limitations could break bubbling contracts between the mod and the game, leading to bugs or other problems. Additionally, while Forge is not foolproof, it abstracts the process of installing mods so players need less technical knowledge to manually install mods.

Compatibility Issues

Incorrectly installed mods can lead to severe compatibility issues with other mods that an ‘API’ like Forge would typically catch and ensure correct runtime compatibility. In the absence of Forge or another mod loader, it is up to the user to do the extra work to monitor their mod’s compatibility if there is a problem. Rather than troubleshooting one incompatible mod at a time, an ‘API’ like Forge automatically takes care of any compatibility issues that may arise without user intervention.

Malware and Viruses

Browsing through a major repository website like CurseForge is safer than downloading mods from a smaller and lesser-known site. Still, not all mods on these catalog websites are safe as some may include malware or viruses. Before downloading a mod, make sure to read the reviews of the mod and see if there have been reports of malware. Keep your PC safe by using a quality anti-malware software solution.

Corrupted Game Files

Possibly the toughest problem of all. Game files get physically corrupted by malware or viruses, generating data clones that can mutate the operating system. While there is no automated way to fix corrupted files, there are several steps you can take to try to identify the problem and repair it according to an article by Auslogics.

One possibility is that you mistakenly installed the incorrect edition of the Java Development Kit. Another is an overly careful antivirus program blocking program components. Conduct an in-depth test of the dependency of the game on the installation.

How to Avoid These Risks?

You can avoid the risk of mod incompatibilities by removing mods from Minecraft without Forge or waiting for updates and compatibility patches. Occasionally, exploring the mods settings for mod load priority adjustments can resolve issues, but this is rare.

You can avoid the risk of virus installation by installing your mods from the official, vetted mod websites and using a proper mod manager, or going through the tedium of a manual install. As a second alternative, you could use CurseForge most mods listed there are clean and safe.

You can avoid the risk of a security vulnerability by scanning your setup for gaps. Ensure your OS, drivers, and the like are up to date. Access your underlying Java files and create an exception for just CurseForge/Overwolf.

Only Download Mods from Trusted Sources

Since installing mods in Minecraft without Forge demands a more intimate connection between the user and the mod, there are additional risks that users must be aware of. Because Forge comes with its own security features, not having these integrated can expose a player to unwanted security threats. As such, users should take the following additional precautions to ensure their security while browing the world of mods.

Nathan37 wrote on Gamepedias Mods/Installing Mods | Gamepedia page that Codenamed Adjective pointed out in the Morpheus mod description, “Untrusted impersonating mods may harm your computer. You have been warned.” Safe practices when installing mods is to use trusted mod brokers such as the official Minecraft mods page, searching for mods which have had many downloads in the past. Make sure not to download from any suspicious URLs. Stick to known game modding databases like CurseForge, Mod DB, or Planet Minecraft.

These sites scan the mods to ensure they are secure. Best practice is to consider all off-site download links suspect and unsafe when it comes to mods, as they are not monitored.

Use an Anti-Virus Program

To help prevent your system from malware, it is a good idea to have trusted anti-virus software installed on your machine. Anti-virus software helps identify threats and takes action, allowing for a more secure computing environment. According to MinecraftInsight, malicious software can even find its way into Minecraft mods. They point out that there are certain mods which are quietly and invisibly installed alongside the desired modpack. A strong anti-virus program can keep your machine safe from such threats by blocking attacks emanating from mods.

Installing an anti-virus program is as simple as downloading the software online and running the executable, assuming you have a paid service. If you are searching for a free option, Avast Antivirus and Windows Defender are good choices. The element to pay attention to is Real-Time Scanning which analyzes your system and automatically scans files whenever a process starts. Some free options may use outdated definitions that do not protect you as well as a paid program.

Backup Your Game Files

Before proceeding with mod installation or any other type of major game change, it is important to back up your game files. This alone will not prevent any mishaps you are afraid of but it will ensure that you can revert back to the way the game was before you installed mods.

Backups in Windows 10 are easy to do frequently. Go to the Windows settings application. Then, go to Update and Security in the subcategories. Look on the right and click Backup. Click Go to backup and restore. Then, click on Set up backup and follow directions.

For Mac machines, locate the settings icon and click on Time Machine. Slide the slider to On to enable the backup. Then select a location to save your backups. The best place to save is to find an external hard drive with your Mac.


The main conclusion from this tutorial is that there are five main ways to install mods on Minecraft; Modrin’s small number of small, compatible mods; Fabric for both small and large mods; MultiMC for all types of mods but the main disadvantage is that it is difficult to use MultiMC for the types of mods that the other options make easier like LiteLoader; and Technic for large modpacks of any type while being very user-friendly.

Fabric is the most versatile mod loader and should probably be the option most players go for. Some users may find Modrin’s simple and light-weight way to avoid Forge’s security sandbox advantageous. MultiMC is less relevant for those just looking to add a few small mods (unless they want to easily use MultiMC to add one of the large modpacks that MultiMC is best for like FTB or SkyFactory). Technic is a great option if you want to get to playing without caring too much about the order of your mods installation but determine playing from large modpacks.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Install Mods in Minecraft Without Forge?

If you want to install mods in Minecraft but don’t want to use Forge, here are some frequently asked questions and answers to guide you through the process.

Can I install mods in Minecraft without using Forge?

Yes, you can install mods in Minecraft without using Forge. There are alternative methods that you can use to add mods to your game.

What is Forge and why would I want to install mods without it?

Forge is a popular mod loading tool for Minecraft, but some players prefer to use other methods to install mods. This can include using a different mod loader or manually installing mods.

How do I install mods without Forge?

The process may vary depending on the method you choose, but generally, you will need to download and install a different mod loader, such as Fabric or Rift. You can then download and install mods using these loaders.

Is it safe to install mods without Forge?

As with any mod installation, there is always a risk involved. However, if you download mods from reliable sources and follow the instructions carefully, it should be safe to install mods without Forge.

What should I do if I encounter issues while installing mods without Forge?

If you encounter any issues while installing mods without Forge, make sure to check the instructions and troubleshooting guides provided by the mod loader you are using. You can also seek help from online communities or forums for assistance.

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