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Not Another Java Update??!

Every time my friend turns on her laptop, she is prompted to update Java. I have heard her complain about this for months now, and I decided it was time to address this issue.    
     Lots of coffee cups in front of the computer

                     

Let’s start with the basics. What is Java, and do you really need it?          

Java is a popular programming language that is used to develop games, applications, and utilities  that are found on the Internet, cell phones, and other digital devices. There are thousands of other programming languages out there, such as C, C++, HTML, ColdFusion, Python, Flash, PHP, Visual Basic, and more, but Java has gained popularity in the last few years because it will work on many different kinds of computers.

So why are there so many pesky updates for Java?

The same reason that there are frequent updates for the Flash player. Because these applications are installed on so many computers around the world, and because they are cross-platform, they are extremely vulnerable to security risks. They are frequently targeted by hackers and other cyber criminals, so Sun Microsystems is constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

Can I disable Java’s automatic updates?

Yes, it is possible to disable the automatic updates, but it is not a good idea. Disabling these updates is kind of like asking a thief to your home for dinner when you know you’re not going to be there! The risks are just too great.

What if you are sick and tired of dealing with these Java updates, and you are willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of them? Are there any safe options?

While we do not recommend disabling Java, if you’ve completely run out of patience, uninstalling Java completely is a better option than disabling it. If it is not installed on your machine, it cannot be exploited.

What are the consequences of uninstalling Java completely? 

First of all, there are no security risks involved with uninstalling Java. Instead, the consequences have to do with a user’s experience when surfing the Web. In other words, you may come across some Web elements that will not work properly. If you try to use a program or Web site that relies on Java, you may see an error message or a blank space on a Web page. The good news is that you can always download Java for free and reinstall it when (or if) you need it.

If you have been getting automatic Java updates for some time, you may have lots of different versions installed on your machine. Can you, or should you, delete older versions? 

Yes, absolutely. They simply take up space on your hard drive, and they just keep stacking up in your Programs folder. 

How do you delete them?  

This article by Cisco tells how to remove old versions of Java.


15 Responses to "Not Another Java Update??!" to “Not Another Java Update??!”

  1. Thetrueth Says:

    To be honest having an update everyday makes it a lot easier to pull a lawsuit against them and if sun continues in this manner I will make sure they pay for their incompetance. If you look at the code they are not just updates they are also gathering informaiton.

  2. Whitney Says:

    Is there a way to make the updates run in the background, so that every time an update is available the computer automatically updates, without popping up on my screen and driving me crazy? If so, could you share how to do so? Thanks!

  3. Alexis M. Meizoso Says:

    Thank you so very much for the Java update answer. I am not a techy, and I thought that it was some sort of instrusion attempt.

  4. Ron Balut Says:

    How can I adjust the frequency of the updates. Everytime the computer is turned on is silly.

    Ron

  5. Mary Fran McElfresh Says:

    I am 85 years old. I barely know how to operate this thing. Help me do the least possible damage to get rid of Java. Thank you.

  6. Donna Says:

    Hi Mary,

    Thanks for cutting to the chase. I imagine there are a lot of people out there who have this same question. ( :

    As I said in the article, probably the best bet is to uninstall Java completely. For directions on how to do this, you can go here: http://kb.iu.edu/data/aixt.html

    You will have to use the directions listed under the Operating System that you are using. When you get to the “Uninstall or Change a Program” window, scroll downward and select Java. Then continue following the directions from the link listed above. If you have several versions of Java on your computer, you will have to repeat the directions for each version of Java that is installed.

    Remember, if you do this, you may run into some things on the web that will not display properly, but it may be worth it to you to get rid of those pesky Java Update reminders.

    Good luck.

    Donna

  7. Donna Says:

    Hi Ron,

    This article from Utah State’s Knowledgebase tells how to adjust the frequency of Java updates: http://it.usu.edu/htm/faq/faq_q=2096

    While we don’t recommend it, it also tells how to disable the automatic updates.

    Thanks for using the IT Training Blog!

    Donna

  8. Roland Comfort Says:

    I don’t mind the Java update so much; but what I hate is the fact that they try to sneak in the Ask toolbar or some version of McAfee.

  9. Patricia Says:

    Totally agree about the Ask toolbar. It’s just trickery to put it there so every time forcing you to disable installing it. Sooner or later you’re going to forget and end up with that on your computer…again. Then you have to delete the toolbar…again. It’s bad enough to have to update Java constantly, but having to be vigilant about the crap software they install with it is just offensive in this day and age. Wish they had a ‘trustworthy’ auto update process. :/. As for old versions, other companies clean up their old software after an update. Why can’t Java?

  10. Brian Says:

    Just sent my 3rd complaint to Java about DAILY updates. They didn’t answer the first two.

  11. M.C. Shaw Says:

    Java updates are a means of pushing things like the Ask toolbar, for which Sun gets paid. Apple has a similar strategy with bogus I-Tunes updates. Isn’t it naïve to claim that each update is really a means of improving security?

  12. Darren Says:

    Seriously, why is Java so unsecure that it needs updating EVERY day. You don’t even need to update your web browser every day. It’s obviously just a trick to try to get you to install that *&^*ing ASK toolbar. Which by the way is the single worst search company on the net. Talk about misleading adverts!

  13. perangsang permen karet Says:

    Is there a way to make the updates run in the background, so that every time an update is available the computer automatically updates, without popping up on my screen and driving me crazy? If so, could you share how to do so? Thanks!

  14. Donna Says:

    If you have administrator privileges on your computer, you can change the frequency and the time for the update notifications (http://www.java.com/en/download/help/java_update.xml#sched), but you cannot set things up so that they just run automatically in the background without any notification. If you follow the link above, you will see that you have two options for the notifications: 1. Before installing. 2. Before downloading.

    This means that unless we disable Java updates completely, which is not recommended, we must continue to receive these pesky messages.

  15. chris Says:

    Confirmed that Java is being used by various authorities and companies to snoop on you. In Sigapore, brokers use it to prevent access to information at certain critical times, snoop on your activites. Authorities use it to activate the camera, deactivate the CDrom, transmit trojans, etc. even steal your data.
    Highly insecure, unprofessional, underhand. Yes, they are not really Singaoporean but Mal…
    Login requires you to allow access to IP address of computer and this is when they sneak in other programs, trojans, etc. else can’t go onto the net.
    Unprofessional, low down behaviour.
    Scan your emails, hold your texts, etc.

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