Minecraft is a Java based sandbox and adventure game about breaking and placing blocks. This HOWTO will show you how to run a multiplayer dedicated server in multiplayer survival mode as a Windows service with FireDaemon Pro.

FireDaemon Pro allows you to start the dedicated server automatically at boot prior to login, start multiple instances of the dedicated server and restart your dedicated server if it crashes. You can also use FireDaemon Fusion to manage FireDaemon and other Windows services via a web browser.

Note: Throughout this tutorial we refer to the file name as minecraft_server.X.Y.Z.jar. This is because Minecraft is updated regularly and rather than refer to an out-of-date version, we are using a generic one. Replace X.Y.Z with the version you're installing.

Minecraft Server Setup Under FireDaemon Pro

First download the multi-player SMP server software. Scroll to the bottom of the page and download minecraft_server.X.Y.Z.jar. DO NOT download minecraft_server.exe. The download is small. You should use the jar instead of the exe because with the jar you can control how much memory the server uses.

Save the file in a well know location on your hard drive. For the purposes of this HOWTO, we will be using "C:\Minecraft" as the directory.

Download and install Java if you have not already. The Oracle Java installer may prompt you to install other third party toolbars or apps - ensure you DON'T install them! The Minecraft server works fine with the Java SE 7 x64 and Java SE 8 x64.

In the directory you saved the files to, double click "minecraft_server.X.Y.Z.jar". This will generate all the initial configuration files and folders.

In order to run the Minecraft server you need to accept the EULA. Edit the file eula.txt located in the C:\Minecraft directory. Change the third line to read eula=true.

Now run the Minecraft server for the first time manually by double clicking on "minecraft_server.X.Y.Z.jar". The server will initialise for the first time, creating the additional necessary folders and configuration files. Minecraft uses six configuration files to store various settings (server.properties, banned-ips.json, banned-players.json, ops.json, usercache.json, whitelist.json). They are all text files and they are named according to what they control. You may need to tweak them for your setup. This step is particularly important as it sets the correct NTFS ACL permissions.

Quit the Minecraft Server by clicking the red "X" in the top right hand corner.

Download and install FireDaemon Pro into the directory of your choice, typically C:\Program Files\FireDaemon.

Next start the FireDaemon GUI from the desktop shortcut. Click on the "Create a new service definition" button in the toolbar (or type Ctrl+N) and enter the information into the fields as you see below. Adjust paths to suit your installation. Pay special attention to the Parameters list.

The executable directory must point to javaw.exe. If you are using a 32-bit version of Java on 64-bit windows, then the executable field would be "C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre7\bin\javaw.exe".

The Working Directory must point to the directory you downloaded the Minecraft server files to. For the purposes of this HOWTO, the working directory is C:\Minecraft.

The most important field on the tab is the Parameters. The Parameters define the initial setup of your server. Here’s the full parameter list you should have:

-Xrs -Xms1024M -Xmx1024M -jar minecraft_server.X.Y.Z.jar

  • "-Xrs" tells Java not to close when you log off
  • "-Xms1024M" tells java to use 1024 MB (1GB) for the initial heap size
  • "-Xmx1024M" tells java to use 1024 MB (1GB) for the maximum heap size
  • "-jar minecraft_server.X.Y.Z.jar" tells Java to load the Minecraft server. Everything past -jar needs to be included. You might have to change the version number of the jar file to whatever version you downloaded. You can also append "nogui" if you want to run the Minecraft server in truly headless mode.

Also remember to open up port 25565 on Windows Firewall and any upstream firewalls so that clients can connect to the Minecraft server.

TIP: Each player requires 100MB of memory, so if you want a 10 slot server you will need at least 1GB of free ram. In addition, plugins like Bukkit, SimpleServer, etc. also use memory so make sure you have a few hundred MB additionally available for the plugins.

Now click on the Settings tab. If you DON'T want to see your dedicated server running, uncheck the Interact with Desktop check box. You can optionally run the Minecraft Server as the user you installed it as. In the Logon Account field type your username (e.g. .\Administrator) and then enter the user's password twice in the Password and Confirm fields. You can change the Process Priority to allocate more CPU time to the dedicated server or specify which CPU cores the dedicated server will run on.

Now click on the Lifecycle tab. Uncheck Graceful Shutdown as Minecraft doesn't respond to it.  

Now click on the OK button to install and start the Minecraft Server! If you are running Windows Vista or later your server will start on Session 0. You will need to switch desktops to see your server running.

Now start your Minecraft Launcher and click Play at the bottom of the window.

Once the Minecraft client has loaded click on Multiplayer.

Then click on the Direct Connect button.

Now enter the IP address or host name of your server and click Join Server.

You should now be successfully connected to your server and be running Minecraft in Survival mode!

You can learn more about setting up a Minecraft server here.