How to Play Minesweeper

By Editorial Team

Updated September 22, 2017

Minesweeper is bundled on almost all versions of Windows and is in thousands of households and offices across the world. Many people have never given much time to Minesweeper though, and do not realize the wonderfully simple yet addictive game they are missing. Here are some steps to get you playing Minesweeper in minutes.

Understand the premise of the game. Minesweeper consists of a grid that represents a minefield. The purpose of the game is to clear the minefield without detonating any of the mines. You click on spots on the grid, which will either reveal empty spaces, spaces with numbers or mines. The numbers tell you how many mines that space is adjacent to vertically, horizontally and diagonally.

Open Minesweeper and pick your difficulty. When you open the game, click on the "Game" menu and choose beginner, intermediate, expert or custom. The beginner grid is a nine by nine grid with ten mines, the intermediate grid is 16 by 16 with 40 mines and the expert grid is 30 by 16 with 99 mines. The beginner grid is a good place to get started, but once you get the premise, you should move on to intermediate and expert grids, which present more of a challenge.

Start the game by clicking on one of the squares in the grid. The first space you click will never contain a mine. It is a good idea to click a space near the center of the grid to offer the best chance of opening a big area. If you click on a space that is not adjacent to a mine, it will open all other spaces in the area that are not adjacent to a mine, which will make finding mines easier.

Make your second move. Your second move can be the beginning of locating mines or a complete guess depending on the success of your first move. If you uncovered a number on your first move, you should click somewhere central yet a few spaces away from your first move to give you a chance of opening up an area. There is a chance you will hit a mine and lose on your second turn, especially if you are on a harder difficulty.

Begin isolating mines as soon as you have an open area. The numbers will tell you how many mines are touching that space so you need to use these to find the mines. The easiest place to start is with a "1" that is touching only one covered square. Right-click to place a red flag on the space to tell you that it is a mine.

Click with both mouse buttons at the same time to uncover all squares adjacent to a numbered space if you have found all of the mines around that space. For instance, if you find a mine and there is a space with a "1" adjacent to the mine, you know that all other spaces adjacent to that "1" are not mines. If you click the "1" with both mouse buttons, you will open all of the adjacent, non-mine squares at once.

Continue with the game until you uncover all the spaces that are not mines or until you click on a mine and lose. Sometimes you will be faced with a situation where you will have to guess at where a mine is. This is particularly common on expert mode, so there is still an aspect of luck as well as skill.


Clicking the smiley face at the top of the game will start a new game. Custom minefields can be created with the "Custom" option under the "Game" menu. You can set the size of your grid and how many mines you want to appear on the grid. Double-click the right mouse button to place a question mark over spaces that you think might be a mine but you are not sure about.