How to keep Java up to date on your computer

Java is a popular programming language that is used to run a variety of software applications and programs. The beauty of Java, is that it allows software developers to write programs that can be run on a variety of Operating Systems, including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.  Java has come under fire in recent years as being not very secure.  Most of the reported issues, however, are with the browser add-on (used to run applets) and don’t affect desktop applications (see my blog post titled: How does Java Security Flaw affect Desktop Applications, for more information).  Having said that, Java, like any other software, receives periodic updates to fix potential security and other issues, and so it is important to keep your Java version up to date.

Over the years, Java has made it easier to keep its software updated, and in this article I will give instructions on how to check if your Java version is up to date, how to update it, and how to get it to automatically check for updates, on both Windows and Mac OS X. These functions are controlled using the Java Control Panel.  To access the Java Control Panel, on Windows or Mac OS X, following the instructions below.

Windows

To access the Java Control Panel, and update Java, in Windows, execute the following:

1. Open Control Panel

2. Click on Programs:

Windows Control Panel

3. Click on Java

Windows Control Panel Programs

This will display the Java Control Panel:

Java Control Panel on Windows

4. Click on the Update tab, and then click on Update Now.  If there is an update available, follow the instructions to complete the installation of the update.

You should also make sure that  Check for Update Automatically, has been checked, so Java will check for updates automatically. If you want to see what version(s) of Java you currently have on your computer, you can click on the Java tab, and then click on View…

Mac OS X

To access the Java Control Panel, and update Java, on Mac OS X, execute the following:

1. Open System Preferences

2. Click on Java

Mac OS X System Preferences

3. Wait for the Java Control Panel to Open.

Mac OS X System Preferences Java

4. Click on the Update tab, and then click on Update Now.

Java Control Panel on Mac OS X

5. If there is an update available, follow the instructions to complete the installation of the update.

You should also make sure that  Check for Update Automatically, has been checked, so Java will check for updates automatically. If you want to see what version(s) of Java you currently have on your computer, you can click on the Java tab, and then click on View…

Java releases updates approximate every 3 months (Java 8 u65 was released October 20, 2015), and  so if you haven’t checked if your Java is up to date for a while, it would be a good idea to check it now.

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Victor Ewert

Proprietor/Developer at Ewert Technologies
I am Victor Ewert, a Software Developer and owner of Ewert Technologies. In the past I have worked as a Software Tester including working on Software Test automation. My current technology interests include Java, JavaFX, Swift, Privacy and Security, and Mobile App development.

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