However, research from US CERT revealed that there are other (far more complex) methods required to completely disable Java from running in IE in all circumstances.
If you want to disable Java in ALL web browsers (but keep using it for offline apps), see our guide to easily disable Java content in all web browsers.
If you want to disable it for IE only, we now recommend uninstalling Java completely to reduce the risk of malware attack – or use a more modern web browser e.g. Chrome or Chrome which block Java by default.
Java Issues In IE
Java is installed as an add-on in Internet Explorer but it is impossible to disable Java from within IE itself – IE8 and IE9 ignored every option we could find to disable Java and continued to run Java applets (programs) regardless.
We’ve no reason to believe that IE10 or IE11 has resolved this issue – it’s a major security flaw in IE as users might think they had disabled Java when in fact they hadn’t – so Java exploits (e.g. trojan viruses) could still run amok on their computer :-(
If you just want to find out quickly how to disable Java in IE, skip to the next section below which gives our solution – but, for those who are interested, here is what we did to try to forcibly disable Java in IE – on Windows 7, Vista and XP.
All these methods failed to stop Java running:
- In the menu bar, we clicked ‘Tools’ then ‘Manage Add-Ons’ and changed the ‘Show’ filter to to show ‘All Add-ons’. We disabled all the add-ons under Sun Microsystems (including the Java Deployment Toolkit, isInstalled Class and Java plugins etc) – Java still ran quite happily
- In the menu bar, we clicked ‘Tools’ then ‘Internet Options’ then ‘Advanced’ and unticked ‘Enable third-party browser extensions’ – didn’t make any difference, Java still ran which is strange as Oracle is most definitely a third-party i.e. not Microsoft…
- In the menu bar, we clicked ‘Tools’ then ‘Internet Options’ then ‘Security’ then ‘Custom Level’ for the Internet zone and set ‘Scripting of Java applets’ to Disable. We had high hopes for this one but it also failed to stop Java running.
An average user could reasonably have expected that just one of these steps would have worked, never mind all three together. But IE ignored best efforts to disable the Java add-on, leaving a gaping hole in its security.
How To Disable Java in IE
The two methods below may still not disable Java in all circumstances and therefore may not protect against all malware attacks.
For this reason we now recommend uninstalling Java completely or using a different web browser (e.g. Chrome or Firefox) to reduce the risk.
There are 2 alternative methods – a registry tweak and a Java Control Panel tweak:
Registry Tweak – Advanced Users
Be careful when editing the registry – create a system restore point first.
To disable Java in IE, close IE and then use Regedit to open the Registry Editor and change the value of the
UseJava2IExplorer registry key to 0 (zero) instead of 1.
Depending on the version of Windows and the Java plug-in, this registry key is found in one of these locations:
Now close the Registry Editor, open IE and test Java – you should find that it is now disabled, at least as far as online tests are concerned.
If you want to enable Java in IE again, just change the registry key value back to 1.
Java Control Panel Tweak
1. Close IE
2. XP – click on ‘Start’ then ‘Control Panel’ then double click ‘Java’ (switch to ‘Classic View’ if you can only see Categories View) to open the Java Control Panel. Skip to step 4
3. W10/8/W7/Vista – via Oracle’s instructions you need to run the Java Control Panel from an elevated command prompt (even if your user account is already an administrator) as follows:
- Click on ‘Start’ and in the Search box, type
command– a list of matches will appear above. Right-click on ‘Command Prompt’ in the Programs list then click ‘Run as administrator’ to open an elevated Command Prompt
- In the Command Prompt window type the full path to javacpl.exe (Java Control Panel file – see Note below for the correct path) and press Enter to run it – this will open the Java Control Panel in full administrator mode
Note: the full path could be
C:\Program Files\Java\jre8\bin\javacpl.exe (32bit Windows) or
C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre8\bin\javacpl.exe (64bit Windows) – substitute jre7 for jre8 if you still have Java 7 installed.
4. In the Java Control Panel, click the ‘Advanced’ tab
5. Under the ‘Default Java for browsers’ entry (near the top) you should see ‘Microsoft Internet Explorer’ listed below it
6. Un-tick the ‘Microsoft Internet Explorer’ checkbox and click the ‘Apply’ button to save the change
Tip: In W7 and Vista that checkbox is greyed out so you can’t use the mouse/cursor to un-tick it. Select the Microsoft Internet Explorer entry with the cursor to highlight it then press the spacebar to un-tick the checkbox. In XP the checkbox isn’t greyed out so you can use either the cursor or spacebar.
7. A ‘Success – Browser’ message appears – click the OK button to return to the Java Control Panel and click the OK button to close it
Open IE and test Java – you should find it is now disabled, at least as far as online tests are concerned…
Tip: to double check if Java is disabled, visit the Java test page here – click the ‘Agree and Continue’ button and, if Java is disabled, you should see a message “If the uninstall applet does not appear within a minute Java may be disabled in the browser”.
If you want to re-enable Java in IE, follow the same steps above but this time tick the ‘Microsoft Internet Explorer’ checkbox (using Spacebar in W7/Vista) and click ‘Apply’ – Java will now start working again after you restart IE.
Tech note: this Control Panel tweak is simply a user interface way to apply the registry tweak in the first method… If you check in Registry Editor afterwards you will see that the value of
UseJava2IExplorer has changed from 1 to 0.
Uninstall Java Completely?
Our preferred solution is to totally uninstall Java from your computer unless you really need it.
Some offline programs e.g. the popular LibreOffice program (a great free alternative to Microsoft Office) require Java for a few advanced features, although most users won’t need it.
If you do need Java for offline programs we therefore recommend that you keep it updated but disable it in your web browser.
Because it is almost impossible to disable totally in IE we highly recommend switching to a more secure (and faster) browser like Chrome or Firefox. IE’s inability to disable an add-on from running is a security risk – in our view that is yet another good reason to avoid using it.