Java Help

[this page last updated 2009.3.4.a. Frequent updates are not usually needed.]

Java FAQ: Frequently Answered Questions

What do I do when my browser says I don’t have Java, or that I need to install Java?

Long explanation

To just fix the problem, skip down to the Short Explanation.

Many of the Boreham Library online services, and other campus services, as well as many other web sites on the Internet, require some version of the Java program language to be able to run on your computer. Small versions of Java programs, called applets, are run using JavaScript.

Java was supposed to be a language that ALL browsers understood and used on the Internet. However, it has become slightly more complicated than that. This information is intended to clarify that it, and help you to install Java.

While Microsoft once used their own version of Java on Windows, as of January 2004, Microsoft stopped supporting this version. Everyone is now encouraged, whatever browser used, to rely on the latest version of Sun Java, which may or may not be included with your latest browser version. Sun Microsystems is where Java was invented.

Remember: once you get Sun Java and enable it, all you will usually need in the future is to occasionally update it as you do any other program on your computer.

Short explanation

The Library online services use a browser plugin (helper program) to run certain things. You need to have this, and have it enabled (allow it to be used) so you can use all the services which the Library offers.

Checking for Java

Warning: you might already have Sun Java on your computer, but it might not be enabled or installed for your browser (especially Microsoft Internet Explorer). In that case, you will need to download and install it. See the instructions below.

Instructions are provided for Firefox (the preferred browser of the Boreham Library services) and the more common Microsoft Internet Explorer. Netscape normally includes Java when loaded.

How do I know if I have Sun Java on my computer?

Checking Java on Microsoft Internet Explorer

There are TWO places to check for Java. The first:

  1. Load Internet Explorer (the big blue e icon)
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Internet Options
  4. Click on Security
  5. Highlight Internet Zone (click once only)
  6. Scroll down down until you come to the Microsoft VM section


It should read Java is set at some safety level (usually High), as shown here, but NOT disabled.
Some older sites may not want the new Sun Java, while newer sites may not accept the Microsoft Java any longer, and you may need to check for the Sun Java.

You may have the Sun Java on your computer without necessarily using it or harming your computer.

To check for the Sun Java:

  1. Load Internet Explorer if not already loaded
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Internet Options
  4. Scroll down until you come to the Java section(s) and see if it looks like this:

Sun Java enabled

If you don’t see this section next to the Microsoft VM section, you do not have this yet.
If you do see it, but the box is not checked as shown, click it to make it checked, and back out of Internet Explorer and close it. When you reload Internet Explorer, it should be able to use Sun Java.

Checking Java on Firefox

  1. Load Firefox
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Options
  4. Click on Web Features

Both Enable Java and Enable Javascript should be checked.

If they are not present, you may not have Java yet.

Get Sun Java for Microsoft Internet Explorer

Click here to install Sun Java installed on Internet Explorer.

Possible problem: if you have Windows XP, Service Pack 2 (SP2), you may get a screen like this:

Java needs ActiveX

Go ahead and click in the yellow bar and follow the instructions. Agree to everything and let it load.
This might take a while, especially over a telephone line modem, as it is a large file.

Remember: the version given you may be later than the one shown in this screen shot. That should still be all right.

When done, take the steps to check for Java again. You should have the Sun Java enabled.

Sun Java for Firefox

Click here to get Sun Java for Firefox.

This is a large file, so it will take a while to download by clicking on Offline Installation. However, while the other file is smaller, it is just a helper file which still must go back to Sun and get the larger file, so you may as well download the full file at the start.

The Sun Java file is also available on the Library Software CD for overnight checkout. This will save you the time and trouble of downloading the file.

  1. Save the file to a directory on your computer’s hard drive, such as My Downloads.
  2. When the file is finished downloading, go to that directory and doubleclick on the file that starts with “jre” plus a longer name.
    This might be a newer version than shown on these screen shots.
  3. Answer yes to questions and to the defaults.
  4. When Sun Java is installed, check the Firefox again as described above and be sure the boxes by Enable Java and Enable JavaScript are checked.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

2 Responses to “Java Help”

RSS Feed for Computer Helpers from Boreham Library Comments RSS Feed

It is so very difficult to get easy to understand answers when they apply to anything computer. However, I found your fix helpers for Java delightful. The graphic demonstration of what needs to be activated has been very, very helpful. Once again, thank you, I certainly will lead anyone who has a problem, to look here as well.

Lelani Grose

RESPONSE: Thanks! I’m glad it was helpful. I try to assume little or no knowledge in advance, since none of us are born knowing this stuff.

Where's The Comment Form?

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: