Normally, when we want to install Java, we google Java, go to their website and press download. Hey, presto. Sun pick the right for our machine and a window opens. It takes a few minutes but everything happens without us doing much more than accept the licence and press Finish. Or, something equally thoughtless on our part. And so the day this doesn’t work, we are confused and mildly panicky.
I couldn’t download Java 6 Update 21 onto my XP this weekend and it took me about 3 days working very hard to sort it all out. As always with computing problems, when you find the person who knows, it’s easy. Sadly, the person who knows is not on Sun forums or on Microsoft help pages.
I’m writing down here what I learned to remind myself when it happens again. Don’t follow me because I don’t really know. Maybe do the checks I suggest here to get oriented. Then head over to the links and follow from there. Of course, by the time you get this problem, Java might be on a higher version and XP might be very old. Proceed cautiously and google, google, google. Someone out there has already solved your problem.
Evidence Java doesn’t work
You are looking at a webpage and a graphic refuses to work. Maybe there is a grey box with a lego-like object in the middle saying download the plugin. Your Java doesn’t work.
If you are not sure, at time of writing, the website for Wordle has lots of Java enabled graphics. Head over there and try.
Java download doesn’t work
Most times, when you are told to download a Java plugin, download it. Be patient, but within five minutes you should be sorted.
Download is not working. You are getting crazy messages like Error 1722 saying the installer doesn’t work; try again later. You tried again later and you had no joy.
Or you are told the program is already there but then the install won’t work because the program is there.
You suspect Windows Installer is not working
Go to Microsoft and download Microsoft Installer 4.5. You will have to restart your machine.
(I don’t know if this is necessary.)
You saw requests for logfiles
Go to C:My Documents and SettingsAdministratorLocal SettingsTemp
You are logged on as Administrator, right?
If your can’t see Local Settings, go to Tools on the menu bar, Folder Options choose View and make sure Show hidden files and folders has been selected.
Your logs are called msi…, jusched.txt and java_install. Follow the genius below and you will not need these. But just in case.
You’ve tried everything
This was my starting point. I was pretty sure Java wasn’t working but I couldn’t update either. I have tried downloading from the Sun site. I tried all their options. No joy.
Time for analysis
OK, it is time to stop expecting everything to work smoothly and to start to think in an orderly way. Try these tests to get an overview.
Is any Java installed on your computer at all?
Go to Start/Control Panel/Add-Remove Programs
Wait for it to ‘populate’ the list. Under J, is there any Java listed. There might be lots; there might be nothing.
Don’t do anything yet. Just jot down what’s there. Maybe later you will come back and remove it all.
Does Java work on your machine?
Go to Start/Run type cmd<enter>
Now you are in the command-line, change directory (actually not sure you have to do this) but type
Then at c: type
You should see some sort of programmatic response. If you get nothing or an error, your basic Java program on Windows is not working.
Note this. There is a fix but I am not even sure it this is necessary. But if you think it is, go here for instructions to reload MsJava
Clear all traces of Java from your machine
Go to this genius at Whatthetech and read the instructions and the thread.
Basically, what you are going to do is
- Go back to Add/Remove Programs and remove all Java.
- Then you are going to do something we users never do. Fix your Registry. Don’t do it by hand. It is too dangerous. Run his program to clear all the old Java references from your Registry.
- Then you will install Java using the offline option.
I’ll add one more tip. When Jave installs, don’t be in a hurry. If you try to install twice, you will get the Error 1722 again. I had given up and about an hour later, an install box popped up and the install went seamlessly.
Test whether Java is working
Close your browser. Reopen it and test that you can read Java applets with a site like Wordle.
Thanks to my unnamed genius I am running smoothly again AND understand what I did.
P.S. The picture has no relevance to this story. I need one for the format and this picture came up under Done! I once used it on a Moo card and it was the most popular card with young male social media specialists. So in honor of competent young geeks who share their knowledge . . . .