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Manually Install or Update Sun's Java

Download and save the Java installer for reuse.

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An automatic update to the Java component on your computer may not leave a reusable installer app that you can use again in another install of your operating system. Rather than go through the same download process perhaps a number of times you may find it useful to obtain the standalone installer that can be reused as many times as required.

Do I need Java?

It may be that you do not have Java on your system and that you can happily live without it. Flash, then Silverlight and now HTML5 are providing much of the rich webpage content that used to be the domain of Java, but there are still enough areas where Java remains essential. If you don’t have it you can just wait for the day when something tells you it can’t work without it and decide then to install or not. If you do already have it then either keep it updated or uninstall or deactivate it, as old versions may have unpatched exploits in them. The Java software is/was from Sun Microsystems (aka Oracle) and there are conflicting views as to just how safe and secure it is compared to other forms of webpage active content delivery. (Do not confuse Java with Javascript, they are different things entirely).
microsystems logoblue info gifWhat is Java technology and why do I need it?
blue info gifWhy should I remove older versions of Java from my system?

Determine if you have Java and which version.
If you do have Java installed and active then you will most likely be aware of it thanks to the pop-up messages you get when a new version becomes available (unless you have manually turned off auto-updates). If you are in doubt then the Official Java test page and the Verify Java Version pages can tell you if Java is installed and active and which version is in use. There are also a few third-party website that do Java testing and you can find a couple of links at the foot of this page.

Java iconAlternatively for Windows you can look in Control Panel to see if the Java coffee cup icon is there and if so double-click to open the Java Control Panel from where you can view version and build information. Another method is to look at your installed programs in Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs in XP), where you should see both version and build update numbers displayed. Or you can look in your browser at the installed plug-ins or add-ons to see if Java is listed there. Or you can even just look in the Program Files folder of Windows to see if there is a folder in there called Java.

Getting the latest standalone reusable installer.
Go directly to the Java Manual Download Page where the latest version should be the one on offer for download. Make sure for Windows that you select the Offline download and save it to your computer. This will be the 32-bit version of Java and that is the version you are most likely going to need even if you are using a 64-bit version of Windows. By default all current 64-bit versions of Windows run 32-bit Internet Explorer and you would have had to deliberately and knowingly have changed this before you will need the 64-bit version of Java. If you alternate between 32 and 64-bit browsers then you would need to install both versions of Java. Info gifWhich version of Java should I download for my 64-bit Windows operating system?

Pay attention during install as Oracle are not above trying to sneak some unwanted extras onto your system. The standalone installer is not as bad at the moment as the online install or update, but that could change so watch out for any options offering tool bars or virus scanners or the like as the default will be to include them, so you need to be observant enough to un-check the not so obvious tick box. If you can get your hands on the .msi installer as opposed to the .exe installer then you can avoid the dangers of any extras. See the section below about retrieving left-over installers.
info iconA close look at how Oracle installs deceptive software with their Java updates: - by Ed Bott at ZDNet
Java Auto Update
The default settings for the auto-updater will install a small component that will start and run permanently in the background of your system and check online once a month to see if a new version is available. If you don't want this then there is a check box on the Update Tab of the Java Control Panel that can be un-ticked, but what exactly this does I don't know, it certainly does not stop the auto-update component starting up with Windows and staying alive in the background. It is supposedly a problem with admin privileges, but we failed to find a way to make it work so we recommend that you manually prevent the jusched.exe process from being started at boot time. You can do this in Windows either with msconfig or if you are a bit more technically able by removing the relevant run key in the Windows registry. For the average Windows user however we recommend using the outstanding and free Starter app that will let you turn start-up items off and on with ease. Or if you prefer there is the more comprehensive Autoruns app from Microsoft.

The real tech guys out there have the option of excluding the entire update component from even being installed by doing a command line silent install. For the rest of us there is a round-about way to get our hands on an installer that does not include the updater. See the next paragraph about .msi installers.

Retrieve Leftover Installers
java icon After an install or auto-update of Java in Windows you might find reusable .msi installer files on your system. In Vista and Seven look in - C:\Users\username\AppData\LocalLow\Sun\Java. In Windows XP - C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Sun\Java. You may find several folders each named with the version number of the various updates done over time. In some you should find reusable .msi installer files, but the exact variables of why or when these installer files remain in the update folders has eluded our testing. If you have a folder labeled with the latest update version number then look inside and see if there is a similarly named .msi file. You’ll also need other files from that folder, particularly any .cab file, so save the whole folder and run subsequent installs by double clicking the .msi file from within that folder.

One useful aspect of installing from this .msi installer is that it does not include the Auto-Update component of the Java package and will even leave out the entire update tab from the Java Control Panel. The auto-update function has its own separate .msi installer which you should find inside another folder called AU that will also be inside the Sun/Java folder. If you do want the auto-update feature then install it in the same way, after of course you have installed the main Java update.

If you can’t find the .msi files on your system after doing an auto-update, then a full manual install from the downloaded standalone .exe installer seems to always do the trick and leave the .msi installer files in place, (at least for the Java versions tested up to the writing of this article - jre1.7.0_11).

Java Quick Starter (JQS)
This applies only to Windows versions before Vista and it is another background loaded component that fires up when Windows is started, ( jqs.exe). We are told it can make the starting of Java applets 'much snappier and noticeably faster' so decide for yourself if you want this process running all the time. The option in the Java Control Panel to turn off this feature does work. info iconWhat is Java Quick Starter (JQS)? What is the benefit of running JQS?


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