There is a great deal of info about the bug it seems here but a synopsis of the solution is as follows:
"In the JavaDoc for java.util.prefs.Preferences he points out that if you implement your own preferences subsystem, you can specify it with this argument:
-Djava.util.prefs.PreferencesFactory=<a class that implements PreferencesFactory>
And therein lies the solution: implement your own preferences classes that do nothing. Sounds hard? Thankfully, AbstractPreferences does most of what you want. You have to write 3 lines of code - a constructor for your new class. I've done that for you. And I've outlined the solution in a two-step process:
Download DisabledPreferences.java and DisabledPreferencesFactory.java, and add them to your implementation.
When you start your JVM, supply this argument (make sure that if you put it in a package, you qualify the class name): -Djava.util.prefs.PreferencesFactory=DisabledPreferencesFactory The next time you start an application, my DisabledPreferences will kick in."
Unfortunately, I do not understand exactly what this trying to tell me to do, or even if it is a valid solution to my problem. Are the programs mentioned (DisabledPreferences.java/DisabledPreferencesFactory.java) supposed to be incorported into code that I write myself? Or are they supposed to be added to some java system source code somewhere?
Okay...I've been lookin' at Java stuff for four hours. I'm gettin' some hot chocolate and then going for a run. Again, many thanks to all who've helped out.