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Cleanly remove Java from your PC with JavaRA

25 February 2013, Mike Williams

If the latest Java security scares have persuaded you to ditch the technology forever, then removing it from your PC is normally straightforward. Java’s regular uninstaller should do the job in just a few seconds.

If this doesn’t work, though – or you just want to remove and reinstall Java, because of problems with your system – then it might be worth trying JavaRA, a compact tool that can help you to update or cleanly uninstall the Java Runtime Environment.

The program comes in a compact package (a 139KB zip file), with no unwanted extras. And launching it presents a simple and straightforward interface, with just four large buttons (and only two of those are particularly important).

This doesn’t mean that JavaRA is lacking in options, though. So click “Update JavaRA Runtime”, say, and the program provides no less than three ways to proceed. It can open a web page to perform an online version check; use another executable to do this for you; or download and install the latest version, regardless of what you have got installed right now.

JavaRA is compact and easy to use

If you click “Remove Java Runtime” then that will first prompt you to run the official uninstaller, before itself trying to clear up any files, folders and Registry keys associated with Java.

And there are a few other settings which might be helpful. Click “Additional Tasks”, say, and there’s an option to “Remove outdated JREF Firefox extensions”.

For all this, JavaRA didn’t always quite work as we’d like.

The program needs to run as an administrator, for instance, but doesn’t prompt for that – you’ll need to remember.

You have to click “Update JavaRA Definitions” to make sure it has the latest information about which files and folders to remove; again, this should happen automatically (by default, at least).

And the program didn’t detect the regular Java uninstaller on our test PC.

Still, JavaRA did correctly update our test Java installation, and then correctly and cleanly remove it. So while we’d always try the normal Java uninstaller first, if that’s not working for you then JavaRA provides a quick, easy and effective alternative.

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