How to Fix Error: Could Not Find or Load Main Class in Java

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Encountering the “Error: Could not find or load main class” in Java can be a roadblock for many programmers. This error pops up when Java can’t find the main class to run the program.

This guide offers easy fixes to this common problem and continue with your coding journey. We will also talk about the causes of the Java error and how to prevent it in future.

What is ‘Error: Could not Find or Load Main Class’ in Java?

Java, a robust programming language, empowers developers to create a wide range of applications. Its versatility and efficiency, however, come with a set of common errors that can occur during the development process.

One such interruption is the error: could not find or load main class user_jvm_args.txt, which emerges when Java Virtual Machine (JVM) can’t locate the main class to execute the program.

This error acts as a roadblock, halting the program before it even starts, and necessitates a precise fix to ensure the smooth progression of the coding endeavor.

What is the Cause of ‘Error: Could not Find or Load Main Class’ in Java?

Understanding the usual reasons can help Java programmers fix the error. Some of the common causes are mentioned below.

  1. Incorrect Class Name: If the class name mentioned needs to be corrected or misspelt, Java won’t be able to find the main class.
  2. Wrong Classpath Settings: If the classpath settings are wrong or the class is not present in the classpath, Java will throw this error.
  3. Missing Class File: If the .class file is missing or has not been generated due to a compilation error, you’ll encounter this error.
  4. Misconfigured Manifest File: If you are working with a JAR file and the manifest file is misconfigured or missing the main class entry, this error will occur.
  5. Incorrect Directory Structure: If the directory structure doesn’t mirror the package structure or if the class file is located in the wrong directory, Java will be unable to find the main class.

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How to Fix ‘Error: Could not Find or Load Main Class’ in Java?

Given below are 7 ways through which you fix the Java error.

1. Check Class Name

  • Ensure correct spelling.
  • Match the case (upper/lower).
  • Verify no extra spaces are present.
  • Confirm you are in the correct directory.

2. Verify Classpath

  • Check the classpath setting.
ClassPath File
  • Include class file location.
  • Ensure no typos in the classpath.
  • Use echo %CLASSPATH% (Windows) or echo $CLASSPATH (Unix) to view the classpath.
Use the Code echo % CLASSPATH% for Windows and echo $ CLASSPATH

3. Inspect Directory Structure

  • Match directory to package.
  • Check class file location.
  • Ensure no misplaced files.
Locate the Files

4. Recompile your Class

  • Use javac
  • Check for compilation errors.
  • Look for any warnings.

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5. Check Manifest Files (For JAR Files)

  • Open the manifest file.
Open the Manifest Window
  • Verify Main-Class attribute.
  • Check for typos or incorrect entries.

6. Move Class File

  • Locate the class file.
Locate Class File
  • Move to the correct directory.
  • Verify directory structure again.

7. Use the -cp Option

  • Use java -cp . ClassName.
  • Check for runtime errors.
  • Ensure the classpath is correctly specified.

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How to Prevent ‘Error: Could not Find or Load Main Class’ in Future?

Managing class loading in Java is key to ensuring smooth runtime operations. Adopting good practices like structured naming and using helpful tools can minimize class loading issues.

Here are some steps to consider:

  1. Structured Directory and Package Naming: Adhering to a consistent directory and package naming convention ensures that the Java compiler and runtime can easily locate the necessary classes.
  2. Utilize Build Automation Tools: Employing build tools like Maven or Gradle can automate the management of classpaths and dependencies, reducing the chances of encountering class loading issues.
  3. Leverage Integrated Development Environments (IDEs): IDEs like Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA have built-in mechanisms to manage classpaths, dependencies and provide warnings for potential configuration issues.
  4. Follow Java Naming Conventions: Abiding by standard naming conventions for classes, methods, and packages minimizes the risk of typographical errors that could lead to class loading problems.
  5. Regular Code Reviews and Configuration Checks: Periodic reviews of code and configuration settings help in early identification and rectification of issues that might lead to class loading errors in the future.

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Java Error: Could not Find or Load Main Class FAQs

1. What causes the “Error: Could not Find or Load Main Class” in Java?

This error typically occurs when the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) cannot find the main class you’re trying to run. Common causes include incorrect class name, wrong file name, or classpath misconfiguration.

2. How can I fix a classpath misconfiguration issue?

Ensure your classpath variable includes the directory where your compiled .class file is located. You can set the classpath using the -cp or -classpath option when running your program from the command line.

3. Does the filename and class name have to match?

Yes, the filename and the public class name in your Java program must match. For example, if your public class is named Main, your file should be named

4. How do I use the -cp option to set the classpath?

Use the -cp option followed by the directory path when running your program from the command line. For example: java -cp . Main will run the Main.class file in the current directory.

5. What if I still can’t resolve the error after checking the classpath and filenames?

Double-check for typographical errors, ensure your file is saved in the correct directory, and that you are running the command from the correct location. If the error persists, consider consulting a Java community forum or a knowledgeable colleague for further assistance.