Java without hassle

Java without hassle

On many PCs, the Java runtime environment is unnecessarily installed – often in old versions or with insecure settings. This does not have to be and should not be, as our tips show. […]

The previously ubiquitous plug-ins Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight have now disappeared from most PCs because they had security vulnerabilities that made it easier for an attacker to infect or take over the device. Today, on many devices, there is usually only the Java Runtime environment (Java Runtimes Environment, Java RE/JRE) around. This is sometimes necessary, but also not completely harmless.

What is Java?

First of all, Java is a programming language that is used on countless different types of devices – from small computers to web servers. Android apps are also developed in Java. Java has fans and critics like any other programming language. Their advantage lies in providing applications for several different operating systems at once.

The insecure thing about Java for the user community is not the programming language, but sometimes the runtime environment, which was installed on many office and private PCs, sometimes superfluous and with insecure settings. The runtime environment is required for some programs so that their components programmed in Java work.

However, you should definitely switch it off for use in the web browser. Because it can get really dangerous there.

Uninstall Java

Some tax return programs require Java. The open source office package LibreOffice also comes with a few components that also need Java. There are also games that rely on Java. On most PCs, however, a Java runtime environment is superfluous. Even most LibreOffice users can uninstall Java, as the Java components are found in database and macro or script functions, which are used by the fewest.

Recommendation

If you do not need Java or are not sure if you need it, uninstall it. If an application no longer works, you can still download and install Java again in the current version.

Your system

Click Start, type Systemst and open the Control Panel. In it, go to Uninstall a program via Programs/Programs and Features. Here you will find, for example, Java 8 Update 301 (64-bit) from Oracle Corporation, Figure 1. The most important thing: Java is backward compatible. That means: If you need Java, the latest / highest version is enough, an older one is unnecessary. So if you have more than one Java entry per architecture (32 bit, 64 bit), uninstall all older versions.

Would you like to try it without Java from now on? Uninstalling works as usual: click on the entry and use Uninstall above. If you confirm any queries, the package will be uninstalled. If you can’t find Java under Programs and Features, you can put the article down at this point.

Reinstalling Java

The Java runtime environment serves a purpose on some systems. For example, most users of the free office package LibreOffice will not notice its absence. However, as soon as you use database or macro functions, you will want to install Java again. Close the LibreOffice programs, surf to java.com/de/download and click on the big red button Agree and start with free download. After downloading, double-click on the downloaded file to click through the easy installation in the setup wizard.

Start the application that needs Java, for example LibreOffice Calc. Either it automatically determines that Java is back, or you can show it the way. For example, in LibreOffice Calc, look under Tools/Options/LibreOffice/Advanced to see if it has already found Java, Figure 2. Other applications that require Java have similar setting options. If you have to show him the way, the currently current version is installed under Windows in the folder C:Program FilesJavajre1.8.0_301 (or C:Programme …). The 32-bit version should be C:Program Files (x86)Javajre1.8.0_301 (or C:Programme (x86) …) come to lie.

Securing Java

If you belong to the small circle of users who still need Java, at least secure it well. Open the Control Panel and go to Programs in it. Here you can discover the Java Control Panel, Picture 3. Alternatively, search for it in the field at the top right. Open it.

Go to the Update tab, Picture 4 A. Make sure that Automatically Check for updates is active B. Click on Advanced C. In the small window you change from weekly to Daily D and set a time Ewhere your device normally runs. Click OK.

The reason: You should install Java updates immediately as soon as they appear. Attackers like to try to quickly exploit the freshly closed security gaps in the days after an update, because the update is delayed by days or weeks for some of the users because of too lax settings. Beat the attackers by arming yourself. Now switch to the tab Security.

Uncheck Enable Java Content for browser and Web Start applications here. Switch the security level to Very high, Figure 5. Click OK and confirm the User Account Control request. In the confirmation window, click OK and exit your web browsers. From the next start of the browser, websites are no longer allowed to cheer you on with Java content (JavaScript, on the other hand, does, but that doesn’t have much to do with Java per se).

From the PCtipp forum

We have the PCtipp community (forum.pctipp.ch/threads/45804 ) asked which programs apart from the mentioned tax return programs you know that you need Java. The user Jürgen N. writes: “My program DataExplorer lives from Java.” User psirolf writes: “I have the language tool in LibreOffice (highly recommended!) and then Java is needed.” Do you also know of applications that cannot run without additional Java installed? Write it in the mentioned thread!

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