How to stop Java from tricking you into installing junkware

Java is to personal computers what yellow cabs are to New York City: Java is freggin’ everywhere.  But unlike the speedy cabs of New York, Java is infamously known to have security bugs that could put your computer at risk.  That’s why I suggest the you disable Java if you don’t really need it.

But alas, sometimes you need Java for certain web applications.  Here’s how to live with Java without the crapware that comes with it.

The problem is that if you go to Java.com or update an existing copy of Java you might one day discover that you now have a crazy Ask toolbar riding along the upper part of your browser.

The freggin Ask Toolbar sucks suck sucks

As if the web wasn’t already busy enough with silly ads and popups now Oracle wants to waste valuable screen space with a search bar that shows me that Chris Christie is trending?

Nobody wants this lame browser bar.

But for some reason, I can almost envision the marketing guys in a board room settling on the idea:

John Marketing Guy 1: And Frank, we’re going to offer our customers a search bar from Ask Jeeves.  Ask.com is giving us some serious revenue from this idea and besides it’ll improve the browsing experience for our customers.

Frank Marketing Guy 2: Brilliant!


Let me show you how to stop Java from smuggling unwanted offers into future updates.

This tip assumes you already have Java.  If you don’t have Java but need it, I’ll show you a registry hack in a moment that will set things straight.

Say no to sponsored junkware in Java

The first thing we need to do is pop open the Java Control Panel.

Press the Windows logo Key and type:

configure java

Searching for Configure Java in Windows 10

Click the Advanced tab in the Java Control Panel and then scroll all the way to the bottom.

On a side note, I find it funny that Oracle makes us scroll all the way to the bottom to opt out of sponsored offers.  It reminds me of those websites out there that make you click 10 links deep to find a customer service support number.  It’s like these companies don’t really want to talk to you even though they tell you they want to “hear your feedback”.

No Microsoft, I don’t want to chat or send you an email; I want to talk to a live, breathing, human being!

Ahh! but I digress.

We’re looking for an option under Miscellaneous called Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java.  If you don’t see it then you probably need to update Java before you can tell Java to stop with the vexing updates.  — The irony is so bad that it’s sort of humorous.

Java is stupid I know but that’s how the game works.

Suppressing Sponsor offers in Java

So we’re basically telling Java to layoff with the dumb third-party offers such as that notorious Ask bar that everyone hates.

Incidentally, you need to be an Administrator to pull this off.  When you see the classic User Account Control (UAC) window popup, approve the change and you’ll be good to go.

Allowing Java via UAC in Windows 10By the way, that UAC window has its own set of problems so I typed up a slick article for disabling UAC in Windows.   Read it on rainy Sunday.

Diggin’ in the Registry

A more manual approach to stopping Java from giving you crap requires venturing into the registry and adding two String values.

Make sure that you backup the Windows registry before modifying it and then follow me:

Press the Windows Logo key and type

regedit

We’re going to add a String named SPONSORS with the value DISABLE to two keys:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft

Right click the SOFTWARE key, mouse over to New and choose Key.

Name it JavaSoft

Modifying the registry in Windows 10

Now right click the new key you just created and point to New and choose String Value.

Adding the Javasoft Registry Key

Set the value name to SPONSORS, in all caps just like that, and set the value to DISABLE in caps.

Editing the SPONSORS JavaSoft value

Now click through to the other key, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft and add the same String value name and value.

Playing with the registry in Windows 10

Yay!

You made it, you’ve figured out how to circumvent the smuggleware that Oracle tries to sneak on you.

The ironic thing about Oracle and Java is that not only does it force you to use its buggy software but it also attempts to smuggle in a buggy plugin that adds zero value to your web life.

If Oracle is reading this, I have a question for you:

What the heck does the Ask bar have to do with Java and why does it take up so much screen space?

You should have known better.  Just Google the web and you’ll see the world hates you for this.

Okay, I’m done.  Sound off in the comments.

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Posted in Windows, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Vista Tagged with: ,