Java is a Cross-Platform Environment
Java is a cross-platform environment originally developed by Sun Microsystems (purchased by Oracle Corporation in 2010) to create regular programs that can run on virtually any operating system and on thousands of other devices.
The only requirement is that a Java “virtual machine” (JVM or JRE) is available for the operating system or device which translates Java into something the operating system or device can understand.
Do You Need Java?
Most people no longer need Java because HTML5 technologies will allow modern browsers to perform the same functions without plugins.
Java Plugins Unsupported
Version 9 removed all support for browser plugins, primarily because the major browsers no longer support them, largely a result of the rapidly growing mobile market that never supported Java.
Java plugins are now either unsupported or blocked by most browsers except Internet Explorer, an obsolete browser.
Remove Java If You Don't Need It
If you don't need (or use) Java, you should remove it to eliminate vulnerabilities to your computer.
Java is Vulnerable
It has been know for some time that Adobe Reader, Flash and Java are responsible the majority of vulnerabilities in Windows systems exploited by malware:
A long-term examination carried out by AV-TEST has proven that Adobe's Reader and Flash and all versions of Java are together responsible for a total of 66 percent of the vulnerabilities in Windows systems exploited by malware. Such weaknesses enable Trojans and other forms of malware to invade PC systems, in some cases in an unstoppable manner. — AV-TEST
By uninstalling Java you can determine if it is really necessary. It can be quickly reinstalled if you need it.
LibreOffice & OpenOffice
LibreOffice & OpenOffice may require Java only for extended functionality.
LibreOffice worked without Java for 6 months on my computer, so I removed it.
Maintain Java If Installed
If Java remains installed, update it frequently. Uninstall older versions.
Future Browser Support Deprecated
If installed, I recommend disabling the Java plugin in your web browser — enabling it ONLY for trusted sites. See Java browser plugin recommendations.
Update Java Regularly
Update Java whenever updates are available. These releases fix security flaws in Java.
- Download the current release.
- Java downloads for all operating systems.
- Java Help Center FAQ.
- What actions can I take to increase the security of Java?
Version 9 & Later Not Supported in Browsers
Because of this, consumers are still running Java version 8 (released on March 18, 2014). Later versions are primarily of interest to developers.
Avoid Third-party Software
The best way to avoid Java from installing third-party software is to deselect any options during download and to watch during installation for third-party addons.
To prevent the automatic updates from installing third-party software, open the Java Control Panel:
- Click on Start ⇒ Settings ⇒ search for “Control Panel”
- Look for the Java Control Panel.
- If you see categories in the Control Panel, Java is in Programs.
- The Java Control Panel will not be available if you have uninstalled Java.
- Click on the Advanced tab.
- Scroll down to the Miscellaneous section at the bottom and place a check mark in “Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java.”
These instructions have been updated for Windows 10. Legacy users won't have to search for the Control Panel.
Uninstall Older Versions
I recommend uninstalling all previous versions of Java when updating. Old and unsupported versions of Java are a serious security risk and can leave your system vulnerable.
Uninstalling older versions of Java from your system ensures that Java applications will run with the latest security and performance improvements on your system. —Oracle
Java Updater May Not Remove Older Versions
Java's updater may not automatically remove all older versions, leaving your system vulnerable.
Oracle provides instructions for uninstalling out-of-date Java versions.
I recommend that you manually verify that older versions have been removed from your system.
Uninstall Option During Update
During installation of a new version, you should see the option to uninstall older versions:
Uninstall Java when Updating
To secure your computer I recommend that you manually uninstall all current versions, cleaning out any remaining Java-related AppData entries before installing the most recent version available so you're running only the most recent version.
Manually Checking for Older Versions
Alternatively, you need to check to see if option to uninstall older versions has removed all older versions.
In either case, I recommend cleaning up the Java folders in AppData.
Cleaning Up AppData Java Folders
You need to be careful when following the instructions in this section. You can seriously harm your Windows installation if critical files are removed.
After running Java's Uninstall Older Versions option, I still found an obsolete Java version in the Sun AppData folder:
When this image was captured Java 8 Update 51 was the current version (now obsolete).
Cleaning Up Java Folders in AppData
Be sure you've either uninstalled Java (all versions) or have run the option to uninstall outdated versions before proceeding.
Like most Windows programs, Java keeps data in AppData (in folders labelled Oracle and Sun in the LocalLow folder). These folders are hidden by default.
To clean up obsolete Java folders, follow these instructions:
- Navigate to the Java folders by opening the AppData then LocalLow folders.
- Look for the Oracle and Sun folders and delete the appropriate folder(s):
- If you've uninstalled Java completely, you can delete both the Oracle and Sun folders.
- If you've only removed outdated versions, open the Sun folder then delete any folders containing older versions that is present (the jre1.8._45 folder in the above example).
The version numbers above are examples only. Always maintain the most recent Java version available for your operating system, removing anything older.
The AppData folder is located in C:\Users\[user]\AppData. Navigate to the C: drive then open the Users folder and look for a folder with your user name. Inside you'll see the AppData folder (if you've made hidden files and folders visible).
Windows 10 users can use File Explorer to view the AppData folder or, like Windows 7 users, can open their User folder (often located on their desktop) to view the AppData folder:
Java Support Ended for Most Browsers
The functions these plugins provided is now primarily provided with HTML5 technologies built into browsers. Sites requiring Java or similar discontinued technologies will no longer work with modern browsers.
Java 8 Final Version to Support Plugins
Java 8 continues to be available, but will now be the last remaining version of Java available to consumers that will support browser plugins.
Only IE Supports Java Plugins
Internet Explorer 11 is the only browser that may continue to support Java, but should not be used for regular surfing because it is both vulnerable and no longer being developed.
Pogo Ends Java Support
Pogo has retired support for Java-based games and Flash-based games will soon follow (Flash Player's end of life is December 31st, 2020).
Java and Flash are two technologies that have powered Pogo games for many years, but they're no longer supported by most web browsers. Because of this, we're retiring some older Flash-based games from Pogo in March 2020. The rest of our Flash games will go away later in the year. — Pogo
Java games are already gone from Pogo. Soon only HTML5 games will work.
Java License Changed
The Java license changed on April 16, 2019. Free Java downloads are only for personal use. Commercial use is subject to a fee.
The new Oracle Technology Network License Agreement for Oracle Java SE is substantially different from prior Oracle Java licenses. The new license permits certain uses, such as personal use and development use, at no cost -- but other uses authorized under prior Oracle Java licenses may no longer be available. Please review the terms carefully before downloading and using this product. — Oracle
Update to the Most Recent Version
This the area most consumers should choose to download the latest version of Java specific for their operating system:
- Oracle's consumer Java site.
- Get the latest Java version.
- The Java downloads for all operating systems page has offline installers for various installations.
- You can test your Java installation on the Java verification page if your browser supports Java plugins.
Download More Recent Java Versions
Download the most recent version from Oracle. Consumers should choose the JRE (the JDKis for developers). Current versions no longer support browser integration.
Install 64-bit Java on 64-bit systems; 32-bit otherwise. If you have both versions installed, you'll have to update both for security reasons.
Java for Windows
Windows system requirements are relatively minor.
Windows 10 (8u51 and above), Windows 8.x Desktop, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (64-bit) and Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 (64-bit) are supported.
Windows XP and Windows 7 can run Java but it is not officially supported (nor recommended).
Java for Linux
- How to install Java for Linux.
- See Java downloads for all operating systems for offline installers for Linux.
Java for Mac
Installing Java on the Mac has changed with the release of the newer versions (Oracle's Java version 7u25 and below have been disabled by Apple in OS X).
- Java 8 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.7.3 (Lion) or later and administrator privileges for installation.
- See Oracle's Java downloads for all operating systems for offline installers for the Mac and the Mac download FAQ.
- Legacy Java 6 is available from Apple, but is not supported.