Struggling with JAR files that won’t open when double-clicked in Windows, even though Java is supposedly installed? This common frustration often stems from incorrect file associations or system configurations. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through a comprehensive process to resolve this, from verifying your Java installation to updating registry settings.

Step 1: Confirm Java Installation

Before diving into file associations, ensure Java is properly installed:

  1. Open Command Prompt:
    • Press Win + R, type cmd, and press Enter.
  2. Check if Java is Installed:
    • Type java -version and javaw -version in the command prompt.
    • If these commands return version information, Java is installed.
  3. Verify Java Installation Path:
    • Type where java and where javaw in the command prompt to find the paths of java.exe and javaw.exe.

Step 2: Configure File Associations

If JAR files are not opening via double-click, follow these steps to set up file associations:

  • Right-click any JAR file and select Properties.
  • In the General tab, check Opens with. It should list “Java(TM) Platform SE binary”. If not, click Change…, browse, and select javaw.exe from your Java installation directory.

Step 3: Manually Adjust the Registry

Sometimes, GUI adjustments aren’t enough, and registry edits are necessary:

Warning: Modifying the registry can lead to system issues. Always back up the registry before proceeding.

Here’s a registry script to automate the setup:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


@="Java Archive"



@="\"[Your Java Installation Path]\\bin\\javaw.exe\" -jar \"%1\" %*"

Replace [Your Java Installation Path] with the path to your javaw.exe.

  • Save this script as FixJarAssociation.reg.
  • Right-click the file and select Merge.
  • Confirm the prompts to add the information to the registry.

Step 4: Test the Configuration

After rebooting your system:

  • Double-click a JAR file to see if it opens correctly.

With these steps, your JAR files should now open with a simple double-click, streamlining your workflow when running Java applications. This setup ensures your Java environment is correctly configured to handle executable JAR files efficiently and safely.