Java the Glut
July 22, 2006 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Which of these Java runtime components do I actually need?

I'm trying to clear some space on my Windows XP notebook's tiny hard drive. When I go to Add/Remove Programs, I see:

As you can see, lots of updates of been made to the Java runtime, but do I need all of them? For example, now that I have 5.0 Update 4, do I need to keep 5.0 Update 2 around?
posted by king walnut to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Best answer: You only need the latest version of java, J2SE Runtime Environment 5.0 Update 4,
and Java Web Start. Everything else can go.
posted by malp at 12:09 PM on July 22, 2006

Best answer: The 'update' suffixes are just the same as the previous microversion number (_01 etc). The packages they refer to are not actually updates, each is a separate copy of Java; Java 5.0 (aka 1.5) changed the naming style, because Sun really like confusing everyone with names like this.

For an average user of simple applets and applications, a single copy of Java is enough - you could uninstall everything except 5.0u4 (or uninstall absolutely everything, and grab the latest update 5.0u7 instead). However if you have old applications around that won't run on newer VMs for some reason, you may need to keep one or more older installations. The SDK package you only need if you're compiling Java programs yourself, or you're using a program that compiles Java under the hood.

The profileration of versions installed on a single machine is usually a consequence of the insane auto-updater that's turned on by default in the Windows Java install. Instead of actually updating anything, it downloads complete new packages and installs them in addition to the old ones, which are just left there taking up space and harbouring security holes. Thanks again Sun.
posted by BobInce at 12:12 PM on July 22, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the great answers.
Especially since I can now free up several hundred megabytes!
posted by king walnut at 12:30 PM on July 22, 2006

« Older Where to view London tube posters online   |   Best Route?: Boston to Philly Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.