Note: I no longer develop this page. It remains as a legacy resource.
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.
Most people no longer need Java. HTML5 technologies allow modern browsers and mobile devices to work without plugins, including Java.
Java 8 is the last version of Java available to consumers that will support browser plugins. Most current browsers no longer support Java plugins.
Java, like most plugins, contains vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malware, making it more dangerous to use your computer.
Java has been most visible to consumers on online game sites such as Pogo.com and Yahoo Games. HTML5-based games are replacing Java-based games.
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 Flash-based games from Pogo.
We're continuing to update our most popular games to HTML5. We've improved graphics, performance, and accessibility whether you’re using your computer, tablet, or smartphone. — Pogo.com
Java is listed in the system requirements for LibreOffice and OpenOffice.
For certain features of the software — but not most — Java is required. Java is notably required for Base.
— LibreOffice System Requirements
These requirement for Java may not affect you. I ran LibreOffice without Java installed for six months without any issues.
Uninstalling Java eliminates vulnerabilities to your computer. It can be reinstalled if necessary.
Windows 10 users can uninstall Java using the uninstall options in Settings:
Select the Java app and click on the Uninstall option for each version of Java listed (look for J2SE, Java 2, Java SE or Java Runtime Environment).
Oracle provides manual uninstall instructions for various operating systems.
Once you've uninstalled Java, you'll want to ensure that nothing is left behind.
Like all software, Java must be maintained.
Because security vulnerabilities are discovered all the time, it is recommended that you regularly update to the latest Java version.
Log4j is logging software that keeps track of activity on Java-based Apache websites. It was widely exploited by malicious actors.
Ultimately, everyone is affected by this in some way or another. There is an extremely high chance, almost certain, that every person interacts with some software or technology that has this vulnerability tucked away somewhere.
Fixes are listed on the Apache Log4j page (aimed at enterprises):
Fixed in Log4j 2.17.0 (Java 8), 2.12.3 (Java 7) and 2.3.1 (Java 6).
Java critical patch updates fix security flaws in Java and are generally released on the Tuesday closest to the 17th of January, April, July, and October.
Additional security updates may be released.
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.
During installation of a new version, you should see the option to uninstall older versions:
Java's updater may not automatically remove all older versions, leaving your system vulnerable.
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.
I recommend that you also manually verify that all older versions have been removed from your system.
You need to check to see if the option to uninstall older versions has removed all older versions. I recommend checking the Java folders in AppData.
After running Java's Uninstall Older Versions option, I still found an obsolete Java version in the Sun AppData folder:
Java 8 Update 51, now obsolete, was the current version when this image was captured.
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.
You need to be careful when following the instructions in this section. You can seriously harm your Windows installation if critical files are removed.
Be sure you've either uninstalled Java (all versions) or have run the option to uninstall outdated versions before proceeding.
Click on Start ⇒ Settings ⇒ Apps ⇒ Apps & Features then select the Java app and click on the Uninstall option for each version of Java listed.
Now you can clean up the AppData Java folders.
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\[username]\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 (C:\Users\Username) to view the AppData folder:
Avoid Java from installing third-party software. Deselect any options during download and watch for third-party addons during installation.
There is an option in the Java Control Panel to suppress sponsor offers during updates. This Panel is only present if Java is installed.
The Java licence 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 licence 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.
This the area most consumers should choose to download the latest version of Java specific for their operating system:
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.
When plugins were still widely used, even 64-bit systems had 32-bit browsers installed because many plugins didn't offer 64-bit versions.
Windows system requirements are relatively minor:
A Pentium 2 266 MHz or faster processor with at least 128 MB of physical RAM is recommended. You will also need a minimum of 124 MB of free disk space.
Windows 11 (64 bit only — 8u311 and above), Windows 10 (8u51 and above), Windows 8.x Desktop (Modern UI is not supported). Windows Server is also supported in multiple versions.
Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 can run Java but it is not officially supported (nor recommended).
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 is] a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995.
Consumer-level Java applications are disappearing.
Public updates for Oracle Java SE 8 will remain available for individual, personal use through at least the end of 2020.
That is not to say that Java is finished. It plays a major role in enterprise, particularly in the cloud.
Organizations are moving applications, platforms, and infrastructure traditionally set inside corporate data centers into high-scale, high-availability cloud services.
Java's inherent portability means applications and services work across public cloud, private cloud, on-premise, and hybrid environments.
Java applications included some unusual ones (many now obsolete).
Enterprise-level Java applications run services for companies.
There are over 10 million Java developers.
Oracle's Java Security Libraries will help you understand the risks of installing and running Java.
Java security technology provides the developer with a comprehensive security framework for writing applications, and also provides the user or administrator with a set of tools to securely manage applications.
On this site:
Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates.
Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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Updated: June 23, 2023