Java is a Cross-Platform Environment
Java is a cross-platform environment developed 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.
Consumer Use of Java
Java has been most visible to consumers on online game sites such as Pogo.com and Yahoo Games. These games are now being replaced with HTML5-based games.
However, the days of consumer-level Java use are numbered because of a history of vulnerabilities in Java 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.
Java Support Ending
Public updates for Oracle Java SE 8 will remain available for individual, personal use through at least the end of 2020. — Oracle
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
Do You NEED Java?
Most people no longer need Java.
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
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.
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:
- Java version 9 and version 10 were short-term (half-year) releases.
- Java version 11 was released on September 25, 2018.
- Java version 12 was released on March 19, 2019.
- Java version 13 was released September 17, 2019.
- Java version 14 was released March 17, 2020.
- Java version 15 is scheduled for release September 17, 2020.
- Java version 16 is under development.
Avoid Third-party Software
Prevent Java Updater from installing third-party software.
- Open the Java Control Panel: Start ⇒ Control Panel ⇒ Java. If you see categories in the Control Panel, look for Java in Programs.
- 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.”
If you uninstall Java, this setting will be removed, but as long as you de-select any optional software when downloading new Java versions and check during installation you shouldn't see third-party software installed on your system.
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 but is 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 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
In Firefox version 51 or later, NPAPI-based plugins other than Flash are blocked. This includes the removal of support for Java.
Beginning in Firefox version 52 released March 7, 2017, installed NPAPI plugins are no longer supported in Firefox, except for Adobe Flash. Some of the plugins that will no longer load in Firefox, even though they may be installed on your computer, include Java, Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Acrobat. — Mozilla Support
Oracle Stops Support for Browser Plugins
Most current browsers no longer support Java plugins and Oracle has responded by deprecated all support for browser plugins starting with version 9 (released in September 2017 but already obsolete).
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.
The functions these plugins provided is now primarily provided within the browser itself using HTML5 technologies but sites requiring Java or similar discontinued technologies will no longer work.
How to Use Java if it is Blocked
Mozilla support provides instructions on how to allow Java on trusted sites (e.g. for Pogo.com).
- This workaround will not allow you to run Java in Firefox version 52 or later.
- Opera is recommended if you need to run Java on sites like Pogo. Opera links to Java 9 which is no longer supported (download version 8 from Oracle instead).
- Internet Explorer 11 is the only other browser that may continue to support Java, but should not be used for regular surfing because it is both vulnerable and deeply tied into Windows.
Pogo has retired support for Java-based games and Flash-based games will soon follow.In the near future only the HTML5 versions will continue to work.
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
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
The most recent versions of Java are available from Oracle and include JDK, Server JRE and JRE. Consumers should choose the JRE.
Note that these versions will no longer support browser integration.
Java for Windows
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 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).
32- or 64-Bit?
Java support in browsers is fast disappearing even as the use of 64-bit browsers is gaining strength. Most browsers already block Java even if it is installed. Current Java versions (except version 8) will no longer support Java plugins within browsers.
However, Java is also used by programs like LibreOffice and OpenOffice for certain functions.
It is recommended that you 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.
It is safer to uninstall Java if you no longer require it.
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.