What Is Java Update?

Updated July 19, 2017

Java is a web-specialised programming language used for many types of Internet applications. A Java update notification, which may occasionally appear--either on screen or as an icon--is typical on most computer systems that have Java set to automatically check for updates.

Sun Microsystems

Developed in 1991 by Sun Microsystems as a language for consumer electronics, Sun transitioned Java to the web in 1994. The company has since released the language as open-source to encourage web development and still continues to support and update it.


If a computer, whatever kind it may be, is configured to look for and/or download Java updates, a notification will display on the desktop. On a PC, this will usually be in the bottom RH corner near the clock display. Depending on the setting, it may notify of an available update or a ready-to-install update.

Remain Current

In order for Java-based Internet applications to run properly, especially on highly active multimedia content Websites, a current installation of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is necessary. Sun, as well as many third-party sources, also send out frequent updates to the several development environments freely available for Java programming.


Online games (such as RuneScape, which is completely programmed in Java), chat clients and calculators are just a few of the features Java brings to an Internet-connected PC. It's also a major player in e-business solutions and corporate computing networks.


As an object-oriented language based on C++, Java is currently the language that comes closest to being universal across platforms. For example, in many cases, the same code can be used to run programs on a PC, a MAC and a Sun SPARC Station.

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About the Author

John Smith is a former military journalist turned computer programmer. His work has been been seen in "Airman Magazine," "Pacific Stars and Stripes" and "The Ozarks Mountaineer." He currently programs computers for an automotive components manufacturer in Heber Springs, Ark. In his free time, he reads, writes, repairs computers, plays computer games and teaches Jujitsu.