Java is so ubiquitous it’s almost an essential part of computing life. Over three billion devices use it, including – of course – computers. A very long time ago, it was even installed as part of Windows, but some legal shenanigans later, and now only Apple users have it installed alongside the operating system. Windows and Linux users will need to install it separately.
What makes Java so popular? Its cross-platform for starters, so if you code an application in Java, it’ll run on any computer – Windows, Mac or Linux – that has Java installed. It’s also extensively used on various websites, so all-in-all it’s worth installing even as an insurance policy.
You might be surprised to discover which applications require Java – often, they’ll automatically bundle and install it automatically during the setup process, but sometimes it doesn’t quite go to plan, and all you’ll be told is that you need Java.
Should you ever find yourself confronted by this message, you’ll need this, the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), which consists of everything you need to run Java through your web browser and – through the bundled Java Virtual Machine – applications on your computer.
Just click the link above for your platform to download the very latest build on your computer, and you should find the previously misbehaving application works properly again.
Once installed, Java will run unobtrusively in the background, only popping up when an update is released – at most other times it’s invisible, even when being used.
Note this is the 32-bit version of Java. If you use a 64-bit browser, you’ll also need to install the 64-bit version.