How to enable Java in all the major web browsers

Do you need to use your web browser to visit websites that rely on the old Java technology? Did you install Java on your computer but your browser still says that Java is not present on your system? Why isn’t Java working as it should and how do you make it work in your favorite web browser? These are the questions that we are going to answer in this guide. We will show you how to enable Java in all the major web browsers, so if you want to find out why your Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox doesn’t run Java by default, read on:

NOTE: The information we share in this article is based on the assumption that you already have installed Java on your Windows computer. If you did not, you should download Java from its official web page and then install it on your computer.

How to enable Java in Google Chrome

In September 2015, Google decided to remove the support for Java in their Chrome web browser. The Java plugin is based on an old API called Netscape Plugin API that has always had security issues. Google felt that it was time for them to let go of this old technology and make the Web move on to newer and safer technologies like HTML5.

However, there are websites and web services which are still using Java, and there are people who need Java to run in Google Chrome.

If you need to use Java in Google Chrome, the only relatively easy way to do it is to install a browser extension called IE Tab. IE Tab gets its name from Internet Explorer, and it will use Internet Explorer to display web pages in Google Chrome. As Internet Explorer supports Java, it means that you will get Java support in the IE Tab that you open in Google Chrome. :) It’s not the most straightforward solution you could think of, but it works, and it’s simple to set up.

Use your Chrome web browser to open the IE Tab web page from the Chrome Web Store. There, click or tap on the + Add to Chrome button from the top right corner.

Google Chrome will ask you if you want to Add “IE Tab.” Click or tap on the Add extension button to proceed with the installation.

When the installation is done, and the IE Tab extension has been added to your Google Chrome, you will see a small “e” button displayed in the extensions list from the top right side of the Google Chrome window. You’ll also get a new tab in which IE Tab shows you its documentation.

Click or tap on the “e” icon and IE Tab will start an automatic download of a file called ietabhelper.exe. It is an executable file that is required by IE Tab to run and do its job, so you will have to install it. If you want all the details on why IE Tab needs this installation, you can read the “What? Why? Frequently Asked Questions” page that IE Tab loaded inside Chrome web browser.

After you have installed the helper file, you can get on with using IE Tab and Java, which was our purpose in the first place. Click or tap on the IE Tab “e” button from Chrome’s extension list to open a new IE Tab tab and, in the Address field, enter the website that you want to visit. As you can see from the image below, our Chrome web browser now states that Java can run. Your Chrome will do the same. :)

How to enable Java in Firefox

Just like Google Chrome or Opera, Mozilla’s Firefox also stopped offering full support for the Netscape Plugin API, and it can no longer run Java applets natively, starting with Firefox version 52, which was released in March 2017.

However, Mozilla still offers a so-called Extended Support Release (ESR) 32-bit version of Firefox, which will continue to provide support for Java. So, the best way to still run Java in Firefox is for you to download and install this version of Firefox. You can download it from this web page: Mozilla Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release). There, make sure you choose the 32-bit version of Firefox ESR, because it’s the only one that can run Java. The 64-bit doesn’t offer support for Java.

Just to make sure, once you install Firefox 52 ESR, you can check if you installed the 32-bit version. To do that, launch Firefox ESR and open its menu with a click/tap on the hamburger icon from the top-right corner. Then click or tap on the question mark icon at the bottom of the menu, to open the Help options.

In the Help menu, click or tap on About Firefox and a window with the same name should open. Inside it, check whether your version is Firefox ESR 52 32-bit. If you see this information displayed, then Java applets should continue to work in your web browser.

If you do have Firefox ESR 52 and it is the 32-bit version, but you still have issues with Java applets, you should also check if the Java plugin from Firefox is enabled. Here’s how to do that:

Launch Firefox and click or tap on its menu button from the top right side of the window. Its icon looks like three horizontally stacked lines. Then click or tap on Add-ons.

Firefox will show you the list of plugins it can use and their state. Scroll until you find a plugin called Java(TM) Platform. For Firefox to be able to use Java, this plugin must be set to either “Ask to Activate” or “Always Activate.”

When you are done setting things up, load a website that needs Java to make sure that everything is running smoothly.

How to enable Java in Internet Explorer

If you like using the old Internet Explorer, you should know that Java is enabled by default in this web browser, as long as you have Java installed. But, if anything goes wrong and you encounter problems, you should check if the “Scripting of Java applets” option is enabled in this browser’s settings.

Launch Internet Explorer and click or tap on its Tools button from the top right side of the window. Then, click or tap on the Internet Options entry from the menu.

In the Security tab of the Internet Options window, select the Internet zone and click or tap on the Custom level button.

In the Security Settings - Internet Zone window, scroll to the bottom of the Settings list. You should see a setting called “Scripting of Java applets.” For Internet Explorer to be able to use Java, you should set this to either Enabled or to Prompt.

How to enable Java in Microsoft Edge

With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft decided to let go of Internet Explorer and, instead, build a new web browser called Microsoft Edge. However, just like Google and Mozilla, Microsoft also chose to let go of old and vulnerable plugins, so the company decided not to offer support for Java applets in Edge. The only way we know for running Java content on a website opened in Edge is to use its “Open with Internet Explorer” option. In Microsoft Edge, when a web page you’re on uses Java, click or tap on the More button from the top right side of the window and then click or tap on the “Open with Internet Explorer” entry.

Windows 10 will launch the web page inside Internet Explorer. If Java is installed on your computer, you will be able to see the full web page content.

How to enable Java in Opera

Opera is a web browser based on the Chromium technology and shares part of its code base with Google Chrome. As a direct result, when Google decided to stop supporting NPAPI plugins, including Java, Opera stopped supporting them too, and there’s no easy way of running Java in Opera. To make things even more interesting, in a masochistic way :), it’s even more complicated to make Java work in Opera than it is in Chrome.

If you want Java in Opera, what you’ll have to do is make the IE Tab extension for Chrome work in Opera. Afterward, you will be able to use IE Tab just like we showed you in the first section of this guide: How to enable Java in Google Chrome.

For you to be able to make Opera work with Chrome extensions, launch Opera and go this web page: Download Chrome Extension. This Opera extension will let you download, install and use any extension from the Chrome Web Store in your Opera browser. Click or tap on the “+ Add to Opera” button from the top right side of the webpage.

Then, after Download Chrome Extension is installed in your Opera browser, navigate to the IE Tab page from the Chrome Web Store. There, click or tap on the “+ Add to Opera” button from the top right.

Opera will tell you that to complete the IE Tab installation, you must go to extensions manager and click the install button. When that happens, click or tap on the OK button.

The Go button will take you to Opera’s Extensions manager. Here, locate IE Tab and click or tap on the Install button.

Next, follow the same steps as the ones shared in the first section of this guide: How to enable Java in Chrome. After you’ve completed them, you will be able to use Java in your Opera web browser. It’s a bit complicated, but it works nonetheless, as you can see in the screenshot below.

Conclusion

Although not so popular nowadays, Java has had quite a big market share in the past. While some web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera stopped supporting Java applets, others never supported them, like Microsoft Edge. Only older browsers like Internet Explorer or the long term release of Firefox still support Java applets today. If you still need to use Java, this guide should have helped you. If it didn’t, and you still have issues, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.