The U.S. Department of Homeland security has taken the rare step of recommending that users completely disable Java on their computers due to security vulnerabilities. This is a very extreme and unusual move which must be a sign of how bad the problem is! There doesn’t seem to be software update to fix the problem at the moment.
What is Java?
But what exactly is “Java” and what is it used for? Java is a computer language used on some websites that can run either on the server (the computer which hosts the website), or the “client”, which is a fancy name for your computer (or more specifically, your browser). That is where the security vulnerability is.
I knew that some web pages use Java to provide certain functionality, but “how many?”, I wondered. After checking around, I found that Java is used by only 0.2 percent of websites on the client side! Furthermore, by decree of Steve Jobs, the iPad and iPhone can’t even run Java, and any web developer would be insane to create a new mass-market website that can’t run on iOS. Some examples of sites that do use Java are CrashPlan and Citrix Systems Inc.’s Go To Meeting. Anything big and popular, like Facebook, Google, etc., won’t use Java.
What I Did
After finding out how few sites use Java on the client side, I not only wanted to disable it – I wanted to completely uninstall it! It seems to me that Java is one of the worst offenders when it comes to those annoying popups that tell you to do a software update. They always seem to come at the worst time when you’re using your computer.
Furthermore, since Java runs on your computer, it takes up disc space and more importantly, precious computer horsepower to load and run, basically every time you open your browser. If you’re like me and always have a million browser windows open at the same time, that could add up.
So, I took the plunge and completely uninstalled it! I wiped it from my computer. So far, I haven’t encountered one site that needs it. I did encounter one program that I sparingly used that needs it however: Apple’s Air Video Server, which lets you stream video from your computer to your iPad. I hardly used this so I’m going to leave it off.
Java is sometimes used for enterprise-level software for work. So, check with your employer if you are using a work computer before uninstalling Java.
How to Remove Java on Windows and Mac
How do you purge Java from your computer? If you have a PC, simply go into your Control Panel, select Programs and Features, then look for something starting with “Java” in the list of programs. Right click and select Uninstall or Uninstall/Change.
If you have a Mac, you might not even have Java installed. Here are instructions on how to uninstall Java on a Mac.
Then, surf your favorite sites and see what happens! Worst case, you can re-install it. Personally, I have seen no ill effects, and I’m glad to get rid of one more thing that is adding useless bloat to my computer, that is annoying me with popups when I’m working, and that could get my computer hacked!
Let me know how it goes for you! Did uninstalling Java break a site or program that you use? – Brian