I've got the same problem. Also about the file without extension, but just type ".exe" behind the name, and it'll be an executable file. But I also get the "could not create the java virtual machine" error, and I don't know how to fix it, i've been looking on some sites, but I couldn't find anything usable here. On another topic on this forum I saw that there is no fix, but there has to be one, right?
The only thing I could think of to be honest is trying to uninstall then re-install java, then check on their website to make sure its working correctly. other then that I really don't know what the problem could possibly be.
I've been having the same problem, and may have tracked down the (a?) root cause.
I was getting the popup claiming "Could not create the java virtual machine" when running the .exe file (both versions from the site). So I grabbed the .jar version labeled "linux/other". Since Java is platform independent I figured it should work anyways (the exe was just a nice way for them to package things for Windows). That's how I discovered the following.
When attempting to run with the recommended maximum memory (-Xmx1024M) in the console I immediately get:
Error occurred during initialization of VM
Could not reserve enough space for object heap
Could not create the Java virtual machine.
Note that the last line matches the error we are seeing from the exe, which leads me to believe that it's attempting to set the same memory allocation and failing in this same way. From searching the web, I think I've determined that there is a maximum amount of memory that 32bit Windows (and/or 32bit Java) will allow.
I also tried running with no memory specification, and with the most I could seem to get (around 825M), and I get to the login screen. When I type in my info, I get this error on the command line instead:
at sun.reflect.NativeConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance0(Native Method)
at sun.reflect.NativeConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance(Unknown Source)
at sun.reflect.DelegatingConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.reflect.Constructor.newInstance(Unknown Source)
Caused by: java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space
... 8 more
Fatal error occured (5): null
That last line "about (5): null" also shows up in the game window and looks familiar from some other posts around here as well. In any case, we're running out of memory when attempting to extract (unzip) the lzma files. I don't know much about lzma, but it looks like it's a compression format from 7zip?
Their site claims it to be very efficient on memory usage when decompressing, so I can't figure out why it would need a full GB. Looking in further, the lzma unzipping library minecraft is using seems to be from 2008. There are much more recent versions from this year that presumably are better behaved? Hopefully it's a simple matter of plugging in a new version and providing a 32bit version of the exe that calls for a smaller memory maximum.
For the record:
Windows XP 32bit SP3, Java 1.6.0_21 (most recent), 3GB Ram.
cool sites back up. ok so Kandelon is pretty much telling us that we need to wait for a version of minecraft that doesn't fail? can anybody figure out a work-around for this problem? and if you can get a fix, PLEASE explain in a way someone who doesn't know much about computers. I'm not stupid, I just don't know coding and stuff....
I get the same issue on my computer at my desk but on another much older computer in the office it runs fine. Both computers are XP SP3 with the latest java. I have tried various work arounds like creating a .bat file with a command someone wrote in another forum but no luck there either. It seems to be hitting mostly XP based machines, and random at that. Our tech guy could not figure it out other than the minecraft language is not written properly to work on all aspects of java and that it is really hard to figure java out in the first place. It ran on his windows 7 computer fine as well.
Maybe notch will be able to help out later in future updates.
It's the same code from the download page but with lower memory limits. I don't know how high up it could go before running into memory errors. The game runs fine, even after the login screen, but I don't know if it'll work for everyone.
I did have to delete a couple of the .dlls in the .minecraft\bin\natives folder to get the sound to work. Windows complained about the OpenAL64.dll file (probably because I'm running 32-bit Windows) and wouldn't enable sound in the game unless it wasn't there.