Uninstalling JAVA Console Add-on

JAVA seems to be a popular topic lately on this here blog. So here is another Firefox and JAVA related post for your reading pleasure.

Yesterday I was helping a family member at their home with an odd issue with their Firefox 3.6 install on Windows 7. It seems they had several versions of the JAVA Console add-on installed and they could not uninstall them (‘uninstall’ button was greyed out). I am not even really sure what this extension is suppose to since I did not have this add-on installed. From what I have read it is suppose to open the JAVA Console from within Firefox. Yet, on their machine however, it did nothing.

First thing I did was have them check their JAVA install and saw they were running Update 6 Release 19, so I had them update their JAVA to Release 20. I thought may be a JAVA update would also auto-magically do some housekeeping as well in Firefox. Upon restarting Firefox we discovered that not only did doing update not remove the older versions, but they now had a another JAVA Console extension installed.

The next thing we tried was to have Firefox rebuild the extensions list using the method described in the Wiki article: Troubleshooting Add-ons installation. After restarting Firefox we discovered that did not work either and now all the JAVA Console extensions were active. I had them disable all but the most recent again and restart Firefox again. In retrospect, I figured out earlier today why the said method did not work. That method is used when an extension fails to completely install or uninstall. In this case the extensions were completely installed, but could not be uninstalled.

At that point I let them know I was going to have to do more research on this. Once I got home I looked around and discovered this was a common issue. Further, I also learned unless you are JAVA developer, there is really no reason to have this extension (much like the JAVA Development Toolkit Plug-in). I found the thread Question about Java and Firefox on DSL Reports.com which provided a couple additional options:

  1. On Windows Vista and Windows 7, you run Firefox as ‘Administrator’ (right-click on the Firefox shortcut and select Run As Administrator). Then the uninstall button should be active.
  2. Removing the JAVA Console extension(s) manually from within extensions folder in the Firefox install (NOT profile) folder. In most cases on Windows this is going to be C:\Mozilla Firefox\extensions. With Firefox not running, delete the folders which begin with {CAFEEFAC . . . . } from within this folder and then restart Firefox.

So, I emailed them this info and got a reply later that evening saying that by deleting those folders and restarting Firefox, all of the JAVA Console extensions. I replied back asking ‘what happen when they tried to run Firefox as Administrator?’ Turns out when they did this, none of the extensions were there (including the 3 they had installed and using).

So, it seems that option #2 did the trick. Still not sure how they managed to get the extensions installed in the first place. May be with Windows 7 when you install JAVA it adds the JAVA Console extension into Firefox. May be not, but that is the only thing I can conclude. One neat thing that did come out of all of this, was I discovered how to Locate Your Profile Folder Easily in Firefox 3.6.