How to use Java in Google Chrome

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Despite the hype, you can still use Java in Google Chrome. Surprise should only be feigned when it comes to the inability to use Java in the latest version of Chrome. After all, the path Google embarked upon to rid Chrome of Java, and all NPAPI plugins, was well marked. As far back as September, 2013, Google estimated there were just six remaining NPAPI plugins used by more than 5% of users. At the same time, Google disallowed the addition of any new apps or extensions with NPAPI plugins to the Chrome Web Store. Although the timeline was set to “eventually”, they announced the complete removal of NPAPI support from Chrome.

The Linux community was the first to feel the real impact of the policy change. With the release of Chrome 35 for Linux to the stable channel in April, 2014, it was without NPAPI support. Linux users who wanted to use Java in that version of Chrome couldn’t. It forced users to choose Chrome alternatives like Firefox instead. Within weeks of the release of Chrome 35, the Chrome Web Store also no longer displayed existing apps and extensions that were NPAPI-based.

NPAPI support disabled by default

The announcement came in November, 2014, that Chrome 42 would disable NPAPI support for plugins like Java by default. The expected release date for Chrome 42 was April, 2015. The announcement also disclosed the permanent removal of NPAPI support from Chrome by September, 2015. Indeed, upon release of Chrome 42, “disabled” was the default setting for NPAPI support.  Yet, included was the option for users to enable NPAPI plugins as a temporary workaround. This workaround remained available with Chrome 43 and 44 as well. The Web Store unpublished apps and extensions that required NPAPI plugins.

Google released Chrome 45 on September 1, 2015. As promised, support for NPAPI plugins was permanently removed, along with the temporary workaround. Now, when Chrome users  encounter Java content, a yellow notification bar greets them at the top of the browser window.  The notification bar says, This site uses a plugin (Java TM)) that is unsupported. The notification also includes a link to more information about why Chrome no longer supports Java.

use Java in Google Chrome

The Java content in the web page itself will display as a gray area with a puzzle piece. If you mouse over the puzzle piece, This plugin is not supported displays.

use Java in Google Chrome

If you right-click inside the Java content area, the right-click menu displays application/x-java-applet and an opportunity to Hide this plugin. It no longer includes the Run this plugin selection.

use Java in Google Chrome

All in all, it is not helpful information apart from informing you of what seems obvious. When visiting the web site for help, a notification confirms, “The Chrome browser does not support NPAPI plug-ins and therefore will not run all Java content.”

use Java in Google Chrome

For a deeper explanation, click the More info link to visit their Java and Google Chrome article.

View Java content in Chrome using the IE Tab extension

One method to use Java in Google Chrome is to install the IE Tab extension. The “IE” in IE Tab is an abbreviation for Internet Explorer. Available for Chrome from the Chrome Web Store, IE Tab emulates Internet Explorer within a Chrome browser window. The extension uses the Internet Explorer rendering engine to display Java content (as well as ActiveX and Silverlight content). It is easy to install, and even easier to use. It is important to note that IE Tab works on Windows only. Watch the Video.

Visit the IE Tab page in the Chrome Web Store. Click the blue Add To Chrome use Java in Google Chrome button. A dialog will display asking you if you want to Add IE Tab, accompanied by a list of functions it can perform. Click the Add extension button.

use Java in Google Chrome

Once installed, the IE Tab icon use Java in Google Chrome will display next to Chrome’s address bar. Click the icon to open an IE Tab. In the IE Tab, input the web address of the page that contains Java content. In the example below, our Java version verification was successful. The page uses a Java detection applet, with the latest version of Google Chrome using an IE Tab.

use Java in Google Chrome

If you attempt the same verification process in a regular Google Chrome tab, the notification that Chrome does not support NPAPI plugins displays instead.

use Java in Google Chrome

View Java content using an alternate web browser

Alternatively, if you want to display Java content on your computer, you can also use an alternate web browser. The top-tier web browsers that support NPAPI plugins like Java are Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari. Other alternate web browsers that continue to support Java are Opera and Torch. The web browsers that support Java are available for free. With at least five great web browsers from which to choose, your Java and other NPAPI content is still accessible. Also see:

How to use Java in Windows 10

How to unblock Flash in Chrome

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