NetBeans 6.9.1 launches 6.9 instead, 64-bit Java and Windows 7

I love NetBeans. Sean loves MyEclipse. We both use whichever is most appropriate for the current task. Both have their sweet spots but I think NetBeans is a lot less fiddly to maintain and use…usually.

My most recent attempt to install NetBeans 6.9.1 failed. I couldn’t get it to work on Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit. Everything about the installation process seemed to work. No errors were thrown and the correct shortcuts were created but whenever I tried to launch 6.9.1 it launched 6.9 instead (I had installed 6.9 previously).

After some digging around and comparing my setup to Sean’s I suspected NetBeans 6.9.1 couldn’t find the version of Java it needed so 6.9 was launched instead. I had loads of Java and NetBeans  installations present but not Java 1.6.0_21. I read somewhere about the JavaFX updates needing 1.6.0_21 so I installed it but NetBeans continued to run using the older Java 1.6.0_18 that had been specified during installation.

Isolating the root cause would have been nice, but we’re working in a business here so the best solution tends to be the fastest solution. I removed all the NetBeans installations apart from 6.8 (so I could inherit settings from it). During uninstallation of NetBeans I also opted to remove the settings directory. NetBeans didn’t go quietly. Uninstall program list items remained after uninstallation and the uninstall process failed for second uninstall which prevented any further uninstall attempts until I rebooted. The joys of Windows 7. I then removed all Java installations. I decided to install the 32-bit version of the JDK 1.6.0_21 because the 64-bit version has auto-update disabled and we want auto-update. I then installed NetBeans 6.9.1. Upon launching NetBeans, all was well.

Lessons learned:

  • need to do a bit of tidying up every now and again
  • Windows 7 is still annoying
  • 64-bit apps are often more trouble than they are worth.

Watch out for 64-bit Java/NetBeans issues:

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