10 things to try when Java won't install properly

The next time a Java install goes awry, see if one of these fixes gets you back on track.

It seems that more and more Web applications are requiring Java. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be tough to get Java to install properly. This article discusses 10 things you can do when Java fails to install.

1: Verify the error

I have seen a couple of situations in which an installation error was displayed even though Java installed correctly. Therefore, I recommend beginning the troubleshooting process by verifying that Java really isn't working. The easiest way to do this is to go to this special test page, which will tell you conclusively whether Java is working.

2: Remove version conflicts

If the installation appears to succeed, but Java is not working, check to see whether the Java Control Panel exists within the Windows Control Panel. If the Java Control Panel is missing, the problem is often related to a conflict with JavaFX or legacy Java code. In these situations, you should use the Windows Control Panel to remove any instances of Java. After doing so, use the Microsoft uninstaller to clean up any Java fragments. Then, try installing Java again.

3: Use the offline installer

The Web installer for Java tends to be a little bit buggy. That being the case, the offline installer package will sometimes succeed where the Web installer fails. You can download the offline installer for Windows.

4: Try the 32-bit version

If you're having trouble installing a 64-bit version of Java, try using the 32-bit version instead. Although 64-bit Java would seem to be the logical choice for use on a 64-bit operating system, the 32-bit version seems to have fewer issues.

5: Install with administrative privileges

If you run into problems installing Java on Windows 7 or Windows 8, try installing Java as an administrator. To do so, download the offline installer and save it to an empty folder on your hard disk. Then, right-click on the executable file and choose the Run As Administrator command from the shortcut menu.

6: Temporarily disable User Account Control

Some people have reported that the User Account Control feature gets in the way of installing Java. If you suspect that the User Account Control feature is causing your problem, you can temporarily disable it until after the installation is complete. The method for doing so depends on the version of Windows you're using. In Windows 8, the option to change the User Account Control settings is found in the Control Panel under System And Security | Action Center.

7: Set Internet Explorer's security to the default level

If Internet Explorer is configured to use a higher-than-default security level or if it is running a custom security level, there is a possibility that Java may be blocked. You can set Internet Explorer to the default security level by opening your browser and selecting the Internet Options command from the Tools menu. When the Internet Options dialog box appears, click on the Security tab and click the Default Level button. Click OK to save your changes.

8: Temporarily disable your antivirus scanning

There have been some reports of antivirus software preventing Java from being installed. If you want to see whether your antivirus is causing your problem, I recommend downloading the offline installer, updating your antivirus software, and then performing a full system scan. This will help make sure that there are no infections on your system before you disable the antivirus software.

Once you're confident that your system is free of malware, you can temporarily disable the antivirus scanning process. The method of doing so will depend on the antivirus product you are using, but often it is possible to right-click on the antivirus software's taskbar icon and choose a pause option from a shortcut menu. When you have finished attempting your Java installation, don't forget to re-enable antivirus scanning.

9: Check for a corrupt user profile

According to Microsoft, a corrupt user profile can cause problems with Java installations. Try creating a new user and assign that user local administrative permissions. Then, log in using the new user account and try installing Java.

10: Use the System Configuration tool

Since problems with Java installations are often related to other software that is running on the system, you may be able to fix the problem by temporarily disabling other startup items. The easiest way to do that is to open a Run prompt and enter the MSCONFIG command. This launches the Windows System Configuration utility, which allows you to choose the startup items that you want to disable without requiring any permanent changes to the operating system.

Other tricks?

Have you found some other workarounds or fixes for dealing with Java install headaches? Share your suggestions with fellow TechRepublic members.

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