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I am doing some sysadmin work for a small non-profit with about 20 windows XP PCs. I am performing standard maintenance as well as some other work. I am confused about java 7. For consistency sake I would rather only have one version of java on each system. If I install java 7 on all systems and remove java 6 will java 6 based java apps still work? Is java 7 likely to cause any problems?

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What applications do you have that depend on Java? If you don't know of any hard requirements, then just try it on a test system and see what happens. There is no way we can answer this question for you. Unfortunately, with java some applications might not work with a newer version. I know of some applications that are extremely picky about java versions, and others that are flexible. –  Zoredache Jun 13 '12 at 21:17
    
As far as I can tell the organization does not use any applications which specifically rely on java, however, most of the systems have java installed, if a system does not have java installed than I am not adding it or upgrading it. It appears that java is use primarily for serverlets an was mostly likely installed because someone visited some website that required java. –  john-charles Jun 13 '12 at 21:24
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Given your use-case is 'general browsing' I have to strongly recommend updating. Java is still a prime target for badware, and the updates help keep that stuff out. If you have some specific applications you had to use that answer may be different. But in your case, updating is a good thing.

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I assume "Java 6 apps" means applications compiled using the Java 6 compiler. These will run using java 7.

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Well, should run on Java 7 anyway. –  HopelessN00b Genius of network Sep 28 '12 at 10:56
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