Re-Loading JAVA
February 2, 2006 9:04 PM   Subscribe

I need assistance re loading JAVA. Something occurred this morning that has corrupted my JAVA files. Yes, I did download a Bit Torrent program and then later deleted it. I am not sure wheter that may have caused this problem. However, web sites relying on JAVA just will not work now. Since I run XP Professional, I attempted to revert my computer back one day and still JAVA will not work. I attempted to go to my Control Panel to remove JAVA hoping to reload JAVA. I could not find the JAVA program in my Program Files when going through the Control Panel and then to the Add/Delete section. I did find the JAVA program when using Windows Explorer; however I had no way of completely deleting the corrupted program. Pressing the Delete key could not delete all files. What a mess !!! When attempted just to reload Java over the former version, I received an error message stating that JAVA was already loaded and the installation immediately stop. I am seeking to completely unload all JAVA files and the attempt a brand new installation of JRE-1_5_06. I run XP Professional and use primarily Firefox 1.5 as my browser. Everything worked perfectly until this morning. Whatever assistance can be provided would greatly be appreciated.
posted by Mckoan1 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Did you receive any sort of error message when the attempt to re-install failed?
posted by tweak at 9:12 PM on February 2, 2006

Java can be cranky. I've had to tussle with it for a reinstall after a failed update myself. But I got it working again, if that offers hope.

Obviously some part of Java still lives on in your computer. First things first: When you go to Control Panel window (not the add/remove part, the full Control Panel display), do you see an icon of a steaming coffee cup with the 'Java' label?

Assuming you do have the Java icon, you can click on it to get the Java control panel. Select the Java tab, and then use the two View buttons to see the paths where Java files are installed. Worst case, you can delete the folders to expunge the Java leftovers and try a full reinstall, but I'd wait before doing that. If you're feeling mildly lucky, you could click on the Update tab, and then the Update Now button to see if Java can regenerate itself well enough to work via update.

Either way, you may have parts of the original Java install hanging about your computer's memory, since it's a sloppy beast. Go to the Task Manager via Ctrl-Alt-Del and look at the Processes tab. Check for anything that looks suspiciously like a orphaned or hanging Java service, e.g. javaw.exe. Terminate the process, as it could be preventing files from being deleted, similar to what you described.

Since you have already manually deleted several files, you may not be able to return to a sufficiently clean install state without removing the remaining Java support files. If there's nothing in Control Panel for Java to show a path, the typical location is under the directory 'Program Files' in the subdirectories 'Java' or 'Javasoft'. Delete those subdirectory folders, ensuring first that they do not contain your unbacked-up copies of irreplaceable baby pictures.

Then there's possible registry edits, but best to wait on that after checking out the above ideas.

Hmmm. Ya know, this question -- like many other computer questions on Ask MetaFilter -- is the sort of try-respond-try-respond interaction which works 31.4 times better via a dynamic conversation. Perhaps the MetaFilter Jabber instant message server deserves more tie-in with Ask Meta. Is MetaJabber destined for grander things than a chitchat outlet?
posted by mdevore at 11:30 PM on February 2, 2006

It's Java, not JAVA.
posted by grouse at 1:39 AM on February 3, 2006

Yea, big tip when looking for computer help, don't use all caps for something unless you're 100% certain that it's an acronym. It makes you look reeeeal silly.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 7:22 AM on February 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

I went through this same thing but I can't remember exactly how I finally solved it - note, I am far from a techie. I think the key was manually deleting everything even slightly related to java with windows explorer - it isn't all in the java file; there were weird little java folders all over the place, so I went slowly through the whole directory deleting all of them and eventually it let me reinstall. AVG still tells me that java is a virus, or there's a corrupted archived file in java, but it's been saying that for two years now and nothing bad has happened yet, so I ignore it.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:45 AM on February 3, 2006

Take what I have to say with a grain of salt. I am not tech support and do not claim to know this will work. I am also skittish in that you may have already removed the uninstaller when deleting things via explorer. If there were no Java or Sun referenced programs in your add/remove program listing, you may have much larger problems in terms spy-/mal-ware living on your system.

On the other hand, if faced with your predicament, I would probably try the following:
  1. reboot
  2. control panel > add / remove programs and remove any J2SE and Java prefixed applications
  3. reboot
  4. check Program Files (in you C:\ directory) for a Java directory. Throw out anything you find there.
  5. Empty your trash
  6. edit My Computer Properties (not for the faint of heart, but not so freaky as registry editing)
    1. Right-click on My Computer icon, select Properties
    2. click Advanced tab
    3. click Environment Variables tab
    4. delete JAVA_HOME from System Variables (if it exists)
    5. delete any references to Java in your System Variables' Path
  7. reboot
  8. Download latest JRE from
  9. install
  10. reboot again, just for shits and giggles
  11. try running a Java app
  12. if you get nothing, check My Computer Properties to verify a reference to the bin file of your Java installation has been created in your System Variables' Path. Add one if not.
This should give you a relatively clean install of Java. If you are doing Java development (which I have reason to doubt) you'll also want to download the latest JDK and install it. If this does not help you, then you've prolly got some fragged registry entries and I'm not going to touch that with a 10' pole.

You may also consider surfing Sun's java forums for an appropriate venue to ask for help. Folks there will be infinitely more qualified to answer problems than I am.

If you're bored and have nothing better to do, you could also go the "Back up everything you want to keep to some external media and do the clean install plus hours of patching and re-installing applications fun" route. Windows enjoys this sort of special attention on a semi-regular basis.
posted by Fezboy! at 10:09 AM on February 3, 2006

Also: don't use System Restore. Disable it. It's just another backdoor for viruses and spyware to own your computer, and it generally sucks anyway.

To disable system restore, Right Click My Computer, select properties, click the System Restore tab, check the box that reads 'Disable System Restore' and press ok. Trust me, it's worth it.
posted by tweak at 11:07 AM on February 3, 2006

don't use System Restore

I should say that System Restore totally saved my ass once when my registry got corrupted at a time when I really didn't have enough time for a full reinstall. YMMV.
posted by grouse at 6:15 AM on February 4, 2006

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