Several years ago, our U.S. Government issued a warning that Java was suspect to serious security holes and that we should disable/remove it from our machines. Here are some practical guidelines as they apply to using the Java software by Oracle on our Macs and PCs.
Many websites do not require Java and I recommend if you don’t need it for anything, then remove it. The best way to see if you need it is to uninstall Java from your Mac or PC and then go about your typical surfing to see if you encounter a message stating you need Java. Don’t worry, the installation is easy and only takes a few minutes, regardless of your choice of computer.
The very first thing you should do is look at your Java installation date in the Programs/Applications list where it shows all your installed programs and applications.
To do this on a PC, regardless of your Windows operating system, open the Control Panel and in the upper-right corner, where it says: “View by,” click the down arrow and click “Large icons.” In this view, click “Programs and Features.”
Look through the list, when you find your Java installation(s), for you may have more than one, look to the right where it states the date of the installation. I recommend you remove and reinstall if the date is more than one year old. If you have followed my writing, I have also recommended this for some of the Adobe products as well.
For your Mac, open Finder and look under Applications and then open the Utility folder. Click once on the icon and at the top, select File and then Get Info. If the installation/modification date is more than a year old, I recommend you remove it by simply dragging your Java icon to the trash and then you may close all open windows.
To uninstall from a PC, you simply click the Java entry and then click the Uninstall button near the top. Follow the instructions to remove the program. Do this for each Java entry and when you have removed all of them, restart your computer.
Reinstalling Java is easy to do as well. Open your Internet Explorer or Safari and at the top in the address bar, type in www.java.com. Once you are in the website, click the red “Free Java Download” button to begin the installation.
If you are running Windows 8 or 8.1, you must install it from the desktop mode. Once you are on the Start screen, click the Desktop icon and you can install it from there. Click the red “Agree and Start Free Download” button. Follow the instructions to install Java to your computer.
Once it has downloaded on your Mac, open your Downloads folder by clicking the down arrow the top-right. Open the Java download and follow the onscreen instructions to finish installing Java.
Once Java is installed, it will want you to verify if Java is installed on your machine. Click to allow and then click “Run” to begin. Once it shows you that it is installed, you may close all the open windows and restart your computer.
If you get an error message during the installation, or you need to install a different version for Windows, or for a 64-bit browser, you can always click the link: “See all Java Downloads” located near the bottom to find your choice. In most cases though, your computer specifications will be automatically matched with the correct version of Java.
For 14 years, Scott Lindsay has helped tens of thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 400 articles about Microsoft and Apple software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at ScottLindsay@live.com.