What is Java?
Java is a software component used by many browser-based applications. Here at Middlebury College, a number of our internal systems use Java, including Hyperion, Banner INB, and Nolij. Java is installed like an application but works as a "plug-in" with a web browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.
Java Versions and Middlebury College
The latest version of Java is Java 7. However, this latest Java is currently incompatible with the Java-based software that Middlebury College uses. As a result, it is necessary for users of Hyperion, Banner INB, Nolij, etc to use Java 6.
Java versions also receive minor updates. At the time of this writing, Java 7 is up to "update 17" while Java 6 is up to "update 43".
Checking your Java Version
There are a number of handy websites you can use in order to check to see what version of Java you have installed. Here are some examples:
You can also check your installed Java version by going into Programs ("Add or Remove Programs" if using Windows XP) in the Windows Control Panel.
You want to make sure you have Java installed, and that it's Java 6 and not Java 7.
Getting the correct Java
Most issues with the above-mentioned college systems are related to not having the correct Java version installed. It's critical to have the latest update of Java 6, and to not be on Java 7. If by using the links above you discover you don't have the proper Java installed, you should first uninstall any/all currently-installed Java versions.
Uninstalling old/wrong Java
- Go to the Start Menu, then Control Panel, then Programs ("Add or Remove Programs" if on Windows XP)
- For each instance of Java in the installed programs list, click once to highlight it then click the button for [Uninstall] ([Remove] if on Windows XP)
- Close all web browser windows (Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc)
- Open up Computer from the Start menu, then open up Middfiles
- Dig down to \Software\Public\Java
- Locate the file named like jre-6uXX-windows-i586.exe and double-click on it to start the install
Not on the Middlebury network? Use these instructions to download the proper Java:
- Go to this link
- Under "Java SE Runtime Environment 6u43" (should be at the very top of the page), check the dot for "Accept License Agreement"
- Download the file for "Windows x86 Offline" which is named jre-6u43-windows-i586.exe
- Install Java from this file you just downloaded
Disabling Java Auto-updates
By default, Java will check for new updates and prompt you to install a new version. When you have Java 6 installed like you need to here at Middlebury College, this auto-update notification will regularly alert you to Java 7 and try to get you to update. You do not want to do this. The best thing to do is disable these update notifications entirely. To do this:
- Go to the Start menu, then Control Panel
- Click on Programs, then Java
- On the box that comes up, click on the "Update" tab
- Uncheck the box that says "Check for Updates Automatically". You'll get an warning box, just click the button [Never check]
- Click the [OK] button to save your changes
Macs and Java
The situation with Java on a Mac is a bit different than on Windows PCs. Java version 6 (the version required at Middlebury College for INB, Hyperion, Nolij, etc) was/is supplied and maintained by Apple themselves, while later version (Java 7 and onward) you obtain from Oracle. A Mac doesn't initially have Java installed but the first time you run an application that requires it (such as many Adobe programs), you will get prompted to install Java 6 if you don't already have it installed. This isn't the case with websites that require Java, such as Nolij, so you need to trigger the Java install via other means (see below). Once Java 6 is installed, any new updates from Apple will be automatically managed through Apple Software Update just like system updates.
Currently, Apple has updated their Java 6 to Update 43.
Manually triggering a Java 6 install on a Mac
One easy way to manually trigger a Java 6 download is via the terminal:
- Click on Spotlight (the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner) then type Terminal
- Click on the application "Terminal" in the search results. It should have a black square icon
- A Terminal window should appear with a command prompt. In this box, type:
- If Java 6 is installed, it will report the version. If it is not installed, you will be prompted to install it