Checking Your Version of Java
What is Java?
Java is a programming language and is critical for running a number of web-based programs and utilities. The java run time environment (which is commonly shortened to JRE, or Java) allows java-based applets to run in your browser.
Why do I need Java
A number of Blackboard tools require java to run: the text editor, collaboration tools such as the chat window and whiteboard, and other tools such as the Wimba live classroom, all run using Java applets. A lot of web-based content that you can link to from your course will also require Java to run.
How to Check your Version of Java
You can check the supported Java version on the same page that identifies Blackboard's supported browsers.
To check the version you have on your computer:
- Click on the Start menu (lower left corner of your screen)
- Click Control panel
- Double-click Java; then click About in the Java control panel.
- Click Close.
How to clear Java Cache
- Close all browser windows.
- Go to Start, then choose the Control Panel.
- Click on the icon named Java. On the General Tab, under the section labeled Temporary Internet Files click the button Delete Files.
- Then choose to delete all the types offered.
- Close the control panel by clicking OK and restart your web browser.
- In Finder search for Java Preferences.
- Open Java Preferences and click on the Network tab.
- Click the Delete Files button.
• OSX 10.8 and Java 1.7.0_13
UAB IT’s minimum recommendations for versions of Mac browsers and Java have changed as UAB systems have improved functionality that are compatible with the current version of Java. UAB IT recommends installation of Mac OSX 10.8 and Java 1.7.0_13. Apple operating systems will not run any version lower than Java 1.7.0_13.
UAB IT is also recommending using two different browsers — one for surfing the Web and one just for accessing UAB systems. For Internet Web browsing, use one of the following: Firefox with Java disabled, Safari, or Chrome. For working with just UAB systems, choose a different browser and enable Java to work in it. If you run into compatibility issues with the local browser and UAB IT systems, use the IT terminal servers to access UAB resources via RDP client. For more information, contact AskIT.
•Upgrade to Windows 7
A large-scale project is underway to upgrade all university-owned computers on the UAB campus to Windows 7 by April 8, 2014. At that time, Microsoft will cease its support for Windows XP, which has been the operating system primarily used by UAB computers in recent years. As a result of Microsoft no longer supporting this operating system, XP computers will no longer receive security updates. This creates a greater chance of XP computers being infected by viruses or compromised by malware.
This leaves one budget cycle to accomplish funding of this project. Upgrading to Windows 7 for any system needing network connectivity should be completed by April 2014.
• Install IE 9 and the most recently released version of JAVA
We are updating our minimum recommendations for versions of Internet Explorer and Java as UAB systems have improved functionality to support newer browsers and the currently secure version of Java. Internet Explorer 9 and Java (latest release) are recommended for installation on Windows 7 systems.
• Windows 8 not currently recommended for use
As XP fades away, Microsoft has rolled out its newest operating system, Windows 8. The transition from XP has prompted some users to ask why IT doesn’t upgrade to Windows 8 instead of Windows 7. The answer is that Windows 8 is currently not recommended for widespread use in the UAB environment due to the following reasons:
- Currently, not all of UAB’s business systems support Internet Explorer 10, the minimum version of IE used by Windows 8.
- Windows 8 introduces management changes that IT is not yet ready to address.
- Windows 8 is best used on hardware that is specifically made for Windows 8, such as touchscreen displays or touchpads. Other than the touchscreen/touchpad functionality, Windows 8 possesses similar functionality to Windows 7 from an end user’s point of view.
- PGP (UAB’s approved laptop encryption tool) is not supported on Windows 8 laptops. A recommended alternative is Microsoft’s Bitlocker product. (See Bitlocker with windows 8 for more information)
UAB IT Provides Critical Guidance to Campus on Appropriate Versions of Internet Explorer, Mac OS, and Java to Mitigate Risks of Exploitation
Recent security vulnerabilities identified in the Java software used by many browsers for accessing Internet and internal web sites requires that systems be kept up to date with the latest approved Java version. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommended that all web users disable or remove Java to mitigate the risks. However, as many UAB systems require Java, UAB IT is providing guidance to the UAB Campus that will both protect the university and will provide the ability to continue accessing the required UAB systems. Part of that guidance includes using separate browsers for accessing UAB vs. non-UAB websites, and using certain browser versions and Java versions.
• On Windows 7 Install IE 9 and Java 1.7.0_45
• On Windows XP install IE 8 and Java 1.7.0_45
UAB IT has updated the minimum recommendations for versions of Internet Explorer and Java as UAB systems have improved functionality to support newer browsers and the currently secure version of Java. Internet Explorer 9 and Java 1.7.0_45 are recommended for installation on Windows 7 and IE 8 with Java 1.7.0_45 on existing XP systems. UAB IT also recommends using a separate browser with JAVA disabled for Internet use. Use IE for on campus with Java enabled and your choice of Firefox or Chrome for Internet browsing with JAVA disabled (for information on disabling Java click here).
• Install OSX 10.8 and Java 1.7.0_45
UAB IT has updated the minimum recommendations for versions of Mac Operating systems and Java as UAB systems have improved functionality that are compatible with the current version of Java. The recommended operating systems for use on Campus are Apple OSX 10.7x and 10.8x. While Apple OSX 10.6x is still supported by Apple, vendors are no longer testing against it for compatibility. Apple operating systems will not run any version lower than Java 1.7.0_45.
UAB IT also recommends using two different browsers — one for surfing the Web and one just for accessing UAB systems. For Internet Web browsing, use one of the following: Firefox Safari, or Chrome, with Java disabled (for information on disabling Java click here). For working with just UAB systems, choose a different browser and enable Java to work in it. If you run into compatibility issues with the local browser and UAB IT systems, use the IT terminal servers to access UAB resources via RDP client (for information on using IT terminal servers on Mac click here).
For more information, contact AskIT (www.uab.edu/askit).
UAB has three applications that will be impacted by the end of life for Oracle Java 6. On July 3rd, the Oracle Java automatic update service will begin upgrading Java runtime environments (JRE) to Java 7. Faculty, students and staff that use Blackboard Learn and the portions of Banner and Oracle that are built on the "Oracle Forms" product, will need to continue to use Java 6 on their computers until further notice.
Special adjustments to your computer systems will likely be required to maintain this Java 6 configuration. Disabling Java Update increases the risk to malware infection and will increase the effort required to manage vulnerabilities for this software product. UAB IT is continuing to monitor the capability of the products that are currently dependent on Java 6 and will recommend that this automatic update feature be reinstated as soon as possible.
Students: for more information on how to setup your computer see http://www.uab.edu/it/instech/blackboard/faq.html and click on your appropriate operating system.
Faculty/Staff: please contact your computer support staff to ensure that your computer is configured properly to prevent any issues with this Java change.