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Disable Java updates with Group Policy

By default, an installation of Java will check for updates and then will prompt the end user to install the update whether or not the user has Admin rights. In a small environment, this may not be a problem, but in a larger environment, this can generate a lot of unnecessary support requests when a user that doesn’t have Admin rights gets a UAC prompt that wants Admin credentials. Here’s how to disable the Java update checks so that your end users don’t see messages like this:

01-Disable-Java-Updates-with-Group-Policy

Disabling the Java update notifications is actually pretty easy. There’s a registry setting in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE that will allow you to completely disable both update notifications and the update functionality. The full path of the key is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Update\Policy. The registry entry is named EnableJavaUpdate and is a DWORD value that defaults to 1 for the update functionality to be enabled. Setting the value to 0 disables updates. Here’s what it looks like in the Registry with updates enabled:

02-Disable-Java-Updates-with-Group-Policy

You could set this manually, but there’s actually a much easier way to do this in Group Policy. First off you’ll need a Group Policy Object (GPO) that applies to your computers that need to have the updater disabled. In my example, it is an empty GPO, but there’s no reason why you can’t add this to an existing GPO.

In your GPO, go to Computer Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry. Right-click and choose New > Registry Item.

03-Disable-Java-Updates-with-Group-Policy

If you have Java installed on your management station, you can browse the registry to the setting you’ll be changing. (If you don’t, you can skip the next couple of steps and copy the entry manually.) In the Window that opens, click the “…” button next to Key Path.

04-Disable-Java-Updates-with-Group-Policy

Browse down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > JavaSoft > Java Update > Policy. In the bottom window, you should see EnableJavaUpdate. Click on it and then click Select.

05-Disable-Java-Updates-with-Group-Policy

When you’re taken back to the last window, it should look something like the screenshot below. If you didn’t have Java installed on your management station, you can enter the following:

X32

Action: Update
Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Key Path: SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Update\Policy
Value name: EnableJavaUpdate
Value type: REG_DWORD
Value data: 00000000 (that’s 8 zero’s)

X64

Action: Update
Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Key Path: SOFTWAREWow6432NodeJavaSoftJava UpdatePolicy
Value name: EnableJavaUpdate
Value type: REG_DWORD
Value data: 00000000 (that’s 8 zero’s)

06-Disable-Java-Updates-with-Group-Policy

When you click OK, it should look something like this in the Group Policy Management Editor:

07-Disable-Java-Updates-with-Group-Policy

All that is left is to let Group Policy refresh on your test systems (or you can run a gpupdate.exe manually). If you open the Registry Editor, you should see the setting changed:

08-Disable-Java-Updates-with-Group-Policy

If you’re on a 32-bit OS, you can go to the Control Panel, run the Java Control Panel tool, and you’ll see that the Update tab is now gone. (For some reason, the 64-bit version of Java on a 64-bit OS doesn’t have the Update tab.)

09-Disable-Java-Updates-with-Group-Policy

Set ‘Action’  to ‘Update,’ , Group Policy will recreate the entry at the next refresh.