Take a look at your internet browser. Look at all the games, programs, and applets. Chances are, even if you can't see some of them, most of the stuff that you use or watch or play on the Internet uses Java, or as it is known in more technical circles, the Java Runtime Environment. In fact, any and all Java-based programs and applets must use and run from within the Java Runtime Environment. As you can see, there are various iterations of that environment - we'll be talking about the 64-bit version, which will, if you haven't guessed yet, run only on 64-bit machines.
Since the Java Runtime Environment is, in essence, a virtual machine, it needs to be installed on your computer. Don't worry, though! It couldn't be easier to do, especially since an installation wizard basically does everything for you. All you have to do is click! The same holds true for any configuration or customization you may feel like doing. Just open up the Windows Control Panel and click the Java icon. From there, it's just a matter of tweaking things to their desired state.
The Java Runtime Environment is a really popular, even essential program. If you want to see just how essential, disable it for a little while and try to use the Internet. Hardly anything will work! Even so, the 64-bit iteration of Java is no exception to the rule that everything - especially technology - has both good and bad points. Read on for a brief summation of the Java Runtime Environment's pros and cons.
This version of Java has a lot going for it. It's easy to install, it integrates seamlessly into your web browser of choice, after which it will auto-update, saving you the trouble, and best of all, it's free (under terms of a GPL license)!
This Java iteration only works on 64-bit machines, it is Windows-only, and the user interface, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, is pretty bland.
Well, that's that. The only question you need to answer now is, "Is this version of Java right for me?", which should be easy, since you now have all the info you need to make an informed choice. Happy computing!
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