Missing Java update tab

Posted on Updated on

If you have a Java JRE (Java Runtime Environment) installed, you can configure it through the Java Control Panel applet. This applet contains 5 tabs, the 2nd tab from the left being the “Update” tab. Sometimes this tab is missing though (see picture below).

This has to do with EnableJavaUpdate, a DWORD named value in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Update\Policy (for the x86 version on x86 Windows or the x64 version on x64 Windows) or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft\Java Update\Policy (for the x86 version on x64 Windows). Its value determines if the JRE’s update feature is enabled (value “1”) or not (value “0” or not available). Note an enabled update feature doesn’t mean auto-downloading/updating is effectively active: disabling every kind of update setting is in a way also some sort of update configuration. It’s like configuring a setting Frequency to “Never” for example: there is no frequency, but in a broad sense it’s still a frequency setting’s value (“Never”). It’s the same thing with the Java update feature. Anyway, if the feature is enabled (value “1”), the Java Control Panel applet will show the Update tab and show you the configuration, but you need administrator rights to see the correct update settings (and starting from Vista you even need elevated administrator rights to see the correct update settings). If you open the applet as an administrator you can also change the settings, although you need to have, again, elevated administrator rights starting from Vista (otherwise it seems you can change the settings, but they aren’t actually saved). If the feature is disabled (value “0”), the applet sees the whole update feature is disabled and decides not to show information about it; well, actually it just removes the Update tab. Other named values under the forementioned keys determine the actual update settings (the update schedule for example).

Sometimes EnableJavaUpdate is “0” or deleted. This can happen by mistake, due to a bug (although I’m not aware of any bug doing this), because of your colleague-administrator who wants to test you, etc. etc. But perhaps it has been done with a certain professional purpose; for example, administrators can decide to disable the whole feature to hide the tab from users.

A special cause is the fact that you have installed the 32 bit and the 64 bit of the JRE on a 64 bit Windows. In this case the applet is actually the 64 bit one, using the 64 bit JRE settings. This means EnableJavaUpdate in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Update\Policy is used to decide if the Update tab should be shown and the other update settings under this key to decide what the update behavior is. The problem is no settings are available by default under this key, not even EnableJavaUpdate, which means the update feature is actually disabled! This also explains why the tab is not shown. I’m not sure why this situation occurs: is it a bug of the JRE’s installer? Is it by design? I dunno, but I do know you can fix it. Just add the DWORD EnableJavaUpdate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Update\Policy and give it value “1”. Try again and you should see the tab and when you click the tab you should see the default update settings, even if they weren’t explicitly available under the registry key (see first picture below). When you leave the applet the different (default and/or changed) update settings have been added under the key explicitly though (see 2nd picture below).


17 thoughts on “Missing Java update tab

    Anonymous said:
    05/12/2011 at 14:38

    In my case, EnableJavaUpdate was already set to 1, even though the Update tab wasn't appearing. However, setting it to 0 then back to 1 did the trick, for whatever reason. The update tab now appears. Thanks for the article! The missing Update tab had been bugging me for the past half-dozen Java Updates.

      Ms. H said:
      29/10/2012 at 19:45

      Pedro, same as this person commenting over a year ago, the value was set to 1 already, in my registry, but setting it to 0, then back to 1, caused the Update tab to appear in the Java control panel. I see that over a year and a half later, Java still hasn’t addressed this bug. Thank you so much for making the effective solution available, and so clearly!

        Leonard James Carter IV said:
        13/09/2018 at 14:48

        Same issue. SEVEN years later. Thanks so much for this post – it corrected my problem. In my registry, the value field was empty. I set it to 1 and the update tab appeared. I’m running Windows 10 on a Surface Book 2.

    B1tbull said:
    20/01/2012 at 17:16

    Thanks for the tip.This fixed the missing Update Tab for my Win7 pro x64 system

    Pratik said:
    31/01/2012 at 16:57

    Tried your suggestion. Now it displayed update tab but nothing was triggered when I clicked 'update now' button under update tab. Any suggestion to try?

    Pedro said:
    02/02/2012 at 09:47

    Pratik, getting the Update tab and being able to update are two different things. My article only dealt with the first issue. If I have little bit of time left I'm going to check out for myself if a manual update works for me; if I know more, I'll let you know.

    spips said:
    27/05/2012 at 22:23

    Son-of-a-gun. Oracle couldn’t do what you did so well. Thanks much for the fix.

    BaryH said:
    23/09/2012 at 15:15

    This solved it for me as well, but I had to add EnableJavaUpdate as a String Value (REG_SZ) instead of a DWORD to get it to work.

      RAKSHASRAJA said:
      07/10/2012 at 09:39

      The above worked for me as well (a big thank you for that, Pedro) but indeed, the “update now” button is not working at my end also! Anybody has a fix for this already?!

    Deon said:
    10/03/2013 at 10:19

    I do not even have the Java Update under Javasoft in my Registry….what now??…

    iam said:
    27/07/2013 at 23:03

    thank you. you are good

    MrElectrifyer said:
    27/08/2013 at 09:59

    Didn’t solve it for me. In my case, I installed both the x32-Bit and x64-Bit runtime environments (in Windows 8) and at first, I didn’t even have a Java Update key under [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft] 😐 I manually created it and the “Policy” sub-key, then I added the “EnableJavaUpdate” DWORD and set its value to 1 (hexadecimal). Unfortunately that still didn’t make the java update tab appear 😦

    I then tried alternating its value between 0 and 1, while opening and closing the control panel after each one. Still never came across the java update tab. Any suggestions for fixing this? Or do I have to uninstall the x64-Bit version of Java?

      Padre Pedro said:
      28/08/2013 at 14:05

      Hi MrElectrifyer,

      Mmm, perhaps your situation uses the 32 bit JRE for the applet… (if so, I don’t know the reason, perhaps it all depends on which versions you have installed)? Can you start the Control Panel applet and then check via Task Manager (or another way, whatever) if javaw.exe is the 32 or 64 bit version? If it’s the 32 bit version, that’s the proof sometimes the 32 bit “wins” over the 64 bit. In that case you should change HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft\Java Update\Policy.

      Anyway, it’s perfectly possible you’re missing one or more keys. That’s not a bug or so: if a key is missing, that typically means the default situation is valid. Of course you can always create a “missing” key or named value.

      Please let us know which architecture was the one behind the Control Panel applet and whether changing/adding EnableJavaUpdate under the “new” key was the workaround.


        MrElectrifyer said:
        29/08/2013 at 01:44

        It was the x64-Bit control panel applet that showed in the Windows Control Panel. I’m definite ’cause the name was just Java in the Windows Control Panel, not Java (32-bit).

        Either ways, I ended up uninstalling the x64-Bit runtime environment as I barely ever use x64-Bit I.E. (I use Chrome, available only in 32-Bit) and the 32-Bit applet showed the update tab. When I see the need for the 64-Bit java, will always install the latest.

        Padre Pedro said:
        24/09/2013 at 12:39

        Which version of the x64 JRE did you install? 7 (or 1.7 or 1.7.0, depending on the version scheme you would like to use :-))? The 64 bit edition of JRE 7 doesn’t support the Update tab, so it’s normal not to see the tab in that case. My article only deals with pre-7 JRE versions (at least for 64 bit variants).
        Could you let me know whether you were dealing with version 7? Thanks!

        MrElectrifyer said:
        24/09/2013 at 12:45

        Yes it was version 7 I had installed.

    […] found the solution here: Missing Java update tab. Possibly due to permission problems, Java did not add the following key to the registry: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s