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Mar 15 2011

Run Parallel Installations of Older Versions of Java

Sometimes when you update software to the latest revision it can sometimes break stuff or cause unexpected behaviour to surface. One such example is a particular Java applet I use from time to time and Java 6 Update 24 that was recently released which completely breaks the copy and paste functionality due to enhanced security functionality built into the Java platform.

Whilst the software vendor is looking at how to restore copy and paste I’m not going to sit around and twiddle my thumbs so I’ve figured out a solution which involves installation a prior version of the software (specifically Java 6 Update 23 available here).

Once you have downloaded the older version, run the installation file and follow these steps:

Java Setup - Welcome Screen

Java Setup - Welcome Screen

On the first screen make sure you tick the “Change destination folder” box in the bottom left hand corner then click “Install” as we want to keep the older installation separate from the latest and/or currently installed version.

Java Setup - Destination Folder Screen

Java Setup - Destination Folder Screen

On the following screen, we need to change the target folder for the installation of the older version. I prefer to create a new folder so as to make sure that everything is completely separate. Click the “Change” button and create a new folder in the Java folder for the new installation.

Java Setup - Destination Folder (New Target)

Java Setup - Destination Folder (New Target)

To make it clear what version is in the new folder I called it “jre6u23” to align with “Java 6 Update 23” that will be installed in the folder. If you install a different version then you might like to alter the name to suit. Once done just click “Next”.

Java Setup - Installation Progress

Java Setup - Installation Progress

Kick back for a little bit whilst the installation does its thing.

Java Setup - Installation Complete

Java Setup - Installation Complete

Once installation is complete you’ll need to untick “Restart my browser now to complete the installation” and then click “Close”. Then you will need manually close your browsers as we will reconfigure Java to use the older version explicitly

Open up the Java control panel which should be in the Control Panel section of Windows.

Java Control Panel

Java Control Panel

Go to the “Java” tab and the click the “View” button.

Java Runtime Environment Settings

Java Runtime Environment Settings

In the Java Runtime Environment Settings window you will need to untick the latest version and leave the older version that was just installed. Once done, it should look something like this:

Java Runtime Environment Settings (Updated Settings)

Java Runtime Environment Settings (Updated Settings)

Once configured, click “OK” then “OK” again then reopen your browsers which should now load your Java applets as they did before the most recent update.

This principle can be applied to older versions of Java and newer versions as the Java platform continues to evolve over time. However, I wouldn’t recommend this solution for long term use as it locks you into a known obsolete version for all Java content running on your computer which can create security risks.

Tomorrow, I will look at how you can make self-hosted Java applications run with a specific version of Java running in parallel on the local computer without going through the above configuration steps in the Java Control Panel.

2 comments

1 ping

  1. saket kapur

    Hi
    So did you get around to make self-hosted Java applications run with a specific version of Java running in parallel ?
    Regards
    Saket

    1. Boyd Chan

      It was difficult as the applet I was attempting to fix up was on webspace that I was unable to directly modify. Attempting to copy the HTML source and putting it on my own webspace didn’t work for some reason so I just used my fudge of a solution until the Java applet was updated to work properly. I couldn’t find anything to specify the version of Java to load in HTML.

  1. Specify a Particular Version of Java for Self-Hosted Applets | Boydo's Tech Talk

    […] January 2010 Don't cross the data streams – it would be bad… « Run Parallel Installations of Older Versions of Java […]

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