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I'm trying to install the Pet Bat mod for my kid. After installing the mod twice, I still can't get it to work. Is there a way to auto-install a mod from a zip file? Once I've installed an existing mod manually, is there a way to confirm that it is installed, like a command line tool inside Minecraft?

So far the manual process either doesn't work, or the mod isn't working and I have no way of figuring out which it is other than trial and error.

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Yes. There are launchers that you can use instead of the official launcher that will import zip files as mods. The one I know best is MagicLauncher. It will do version checks as well as the above, but it takes some fiddling with its setup options to figure out how its modding functionality works. However, once you do it becomes as simple as dropping the mod in the right folder.

The first trick is to know that MagicLauncher (ML) merely automates the install process; it doesn't eliminate the requirements of mods, such as the need to install ModLoader or Forge first.

Second, ML makes a distinction between internal and external mods. Internal are the sort that normally need to be inserted into the Minecraft jar file – these are added in the top pane of the mod setup window, and are applied in order from top to bottom, which matters when mods have to overwrite parts of each other in the right order to work together.

External mods are displayed by ML in the bottom pane and it will do version checks on them, but it doesn't actually load them itself. These are mods that are normally put in the mods folder created by ModLoader or Forge, and loading them is technically handled by them, not MagicLauncher.

Determining which mods are internal and which external is a matter of carefully reading their individual install instructions. ModLoader and Optifine, for example, must be installed into the jar file, so these must be added as internal mods in ML. Mods that depend on ModLoader, for example, are normally just dropped into the mods folder under %APPDATA%/.minecraft (on Windows), and ML lists them as external mods.

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Great that helped, thanks. –  jcollum Dec 19 '12 at 18:42
    
@jcollum Got it working alright then? Great! Glad to help. –  SevenSidedDie Dec 19 '12 at 18:43
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The best way is www.skydaz.com. It's amazing. Just click on a mod in the site, download the installer, click install mod and then it is installed. You can backup your Minecraft clear config folder and mods folder from any mod installer. It's easy and fast.

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