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Problem starting apps and applets

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I'm working on a machine that was used by another engineer (no longer with the company). The problem is that I cannot get applets or applications to work at all. Everything hangs up.
The machine had about 6 different versions of the JDK - from 1.1 to 1.42. I uninstalled all of them and went through the registry (Windows 2000 Professional) manually and with a tool to clean all the references that were left over. I downloaded and installed JDK 1.4.2 (latest revision) and took all the defaults during the install. No luck. Not even the Control Panel icon for the plug in works.
Pages with applets just hang IE with no messages. I confirmed the JDK setting in IE.
I downloaded JEdit ( to confirm the operation of a Java application. I ran java -jar jedit41install.jar from the command prompt. It hangs as well. I stopped the process and re-ran it using -verbose. All the [Loading...] lines are pointing to the RT.JAR in the public JRE location (c:\program files...)
Interestingly enough, I have been able to get Eclipse to run. I is using the correct JRE/JDK locations.
Now I'm stuck. I have reinstalled the 1.4.2 JDK. I've burned up Sun's site and Googled the 'net. Any ideas???
author and iconoclast
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Mac OS X Eclipse IDE Chrome
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The standard advice for flaky Windows behaviour is to reboot, and if that doesn't fix it, wipe the disk and reinstall. Since it's an inherited machine, this sounds like an excellent course of action.
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