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I have two jre7 folders. Can I delete one of them?
Here are the folders of interest:
C:\Program Files\Java\jre7 <-- This appeared when I downloaded jdk1.7.0_03
C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre7 <-- This appeared when I downloaded Java runtime environment so my computer can use Java
Can I delete the C:\Program Files\Java\jre7 folder without any consequence, because it appears to be the same thing as the other jre7 folder in Program Files (x86)? Just trying to de-clutter my computer. Thanks in advance.
The "Program Files" folder contain 64-bit version of the JRE, and "Program Files (x86)" contains the 32-bit version. If you really don't need one of them, don't just delete the folder. Use proper Control Panel (Programs and Features, formely Add/Remove programs) to correctly uninstall it.
Joined: Jul 01, 2011
Thanks. Also, are all files in the Program Files (x86) for 32-bit operating systems, and all in Program Files for 64-bit? And if I am running a 64-bit operating system, will I ever need the 32-bit version at some point?
There is no guarantee that a 32-bit application won't get installed into Program Files, or 64-bit into Program Files (x86). Firstly, users can override that manually with most installers, and secondly, some applications/installers are not coded according to MS specs and may get installed in the wrong place (most often the Program Files path is hardcoded, so a 32-bit app ends there, I don't think 64-bit app would end in (x86) folder by a simple mistake like this).
This separation is hardly useful IMO, it just allows you to have a 32-bit and 64-bit app installed into identically named folders (such as jre7) regardless of their architecture.
Only you can know whether you need a 32-bit and 64-bit version of the same application. Sometimes a functionality is not available in 32-bit or 64-bit version (eg. if an application uses a plugin which is a 32-bit DLL, it cannot be used with 64-bit application, and vice versa).
Speaking of Java, the situation is more complicated:
Firstly, if you have a Java application that calls native code and does not provide a DLL for both versions, you need to use the corresponding JRE. Period.
Secondly, although 64-bit JVM allows you to use much more memory, it comes at a price. A reference (pointer) takes 4 bytes in 32-bit JVM , but 8 bytes in 64-bit JVM. Since Java applications use so many references in general (everything is an object, right?), going 64-bit increases memory requirements significantly, by some 50%. Java actually mitigates this and uses compressed pointers when possible; compressed pointers take only 4 bytes, but need some decoding when actually using them, so there is a slight performance penalty instead of the memory overhead. See this article on HotSpot Performance Enhancements.
Most web browsers, notably Microsoft Internet Explorer, are still 32-bit, even if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows. To be able to use Java applets on websites in your 32-bit browser, you'll need to have the 32-bit version of Java installed.