Thr JRE, Java Runtime Environment, contains a Java Virtual Machine, class libraries and other files that are needed to execute Java programs on a computer system. It has been designed for end users systems as it does not contain tools to develop Java applications like the Java JDK.
It basically boils down to this: If you want to execute Java programs you need the JRE. It does not really matter here if the Java program is executed in a web browser or locally on the computer system as both need the JRE to be installed. The Java Runtime Environment is often referred to by users as Java, Java Virtual Machine or Java VM which is technically not correct.
JRE Download refers to the download of said Runtime environment. Computer users have several options to download and verify the Java Runtime Environment which we would like to address in the following paragraphs.
Sun, which recently has been bought by Oracle, is providing free downloads of the Java Runtime Environment on their website. The easiest way to find the most recent version of the JRE is to visit this redirecting link on Java.com. The JSP script will automatically detect the web browser and operating system and load the right download for the user.
The latest version of the JRE is currently Java 6 Update 20. The Runtime Environment gets regular updates which means that this version will go up in the future.
Another option to download Java is to open the download page for all operating systems instead. The user needs to select the right operating system on that page and install the JRE manually after downloading the installer to the local computer system.
Windows users can download an offline or online installer. We suggest to download the offline installer as it contains all the files needed to install Java right away while the online installer downloads components from the web after the initial download.
Java will be added as a plugin to installed web browsers and available in the desktop environment to execute Java programs. The installation will also add the Java Quick Starter (jqs.exe) to the startup programs. You might want to consult the article above for more information on JQS.exe and why it might be a good idea to remove it from the startup programs list.
Verify that the JRE is installed
It is now time to verify that the JRE is properly installed after downloading and installing it on the computer system. This can be done on the Verify Java Version page at the Java website. Just visit that website and click the Verify Java version button.
The next page will execute a small Java program that detects the current version of the Java Runtime Environment that is installed on the computer system.
The page links to the Java download page in case an older version was detected.
Things can go wrong sometimes. The best approach in our experience is to completely wipe Java from the computer system to install it anew to ensure that no old files are still present on the computer.
This can be done manually or by using the software program Java Ra which provides the means to remove older Java versions from the computer system.
Computer users who have Java installed might want to start with the verification first to see if their JRE version is the latest available one. JRE downloads are also available on many download portals in case the Java website is temporarily not accessible.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.