Get PhET simulations to run on my computer?

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Summary.png How to troubleshoot some common issues when running PhET simulations on Windows computers.
IntendedES.png Intended for
Employees and Students
Categories.png Categorized under
Classroom technology and systems
MR.jpg Maintained by
Matt Ringh
2017-2018.png in need of review.


When I click 'Play' on a PhET simulation, a .jnlp file is downloaded? What's this?

You'll need to first download and install Java.

Once you have that successfully installed Java, click 'Play' to download a .jnlp file. If you receive any messages about the file download, click the 'Keep' button. Navigate to the download location and open the .jnlp file. If you encounter any problems opening the .jnlp, follow these directions: Sometimes, the Java file associations can become broken. Follow these steps to re-associate both '.jnlp' and '.jar' files to use Java:

  1. Download a '.jnlp' from phet.colorado.edu - and choose "Run Now".
  2. Right click and choose "Open With...".
  3. Check the "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file".
  4. Click the "Browse..." button.
  5. For '.jnlp' select "JavaWS.exe" (located here on a default installation: C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.0_66\bin)
  6. Click "Open".
  7. Click "OK".
  8. The '.jnlp' should now open in Java.