If you have Java and Firefox on your computer, you’ve probably seen this in your list of add-ons:
While having 19 different Java Consoles installed isn’t a security or stability issue, seeing all those entries in the add-ons list can make your eyes bleed and make you want to slap Java developers for writing such sloppy code. To make things worse in Vista or Windows 7, there either won’t be an “uninstall” button on the extra consoles, or the box will be greyed out… in either case, you can’t uninstall them.
The problem exists because the Java extensions are installed in the Program Files folder, not the user’s profile folder (which makes sense in a way, as any Firefox user on a computer would want Java, right?). But the older extensions aren’t deleted when Java is updated, so you eventually end up with a list of them… like the screen cap above.
The fix is simple, if annoying.
The easy way is to shut down Firefox, right-click a Firefox shortcut and choose “Run as Administrator”. You should then be able to go to the Add-Ons applet and remove the extra consoles. For security’s sake, be sure to exit Firefox after this and restart as a regular user.
But if you’re like me and enjoy getting your hands dirty, there is another way. In Firefox, note the most recent Java Console version number. Open Windows Explorer and go to the Mozilla Firefox > Extensions folder in Program Files (or Program Files (x86) if you’re using x64 Windows). You will see several folders with long IDs for a name, like:
Open each folder and then open either the CHROME.MANIFEST or INSTALL.RDF file with your favorite text editor like Notepad (or, my favorite, Notepad++). Towards the top of the window, you’ll see the version number for that extension. If it’s not the latest version, close the file, back out and delete the folder. Repeat until only the latest folder remains. If you have Firefox open whilst doing this, the extra consoles will remain in the add-ons list until you restart Firefox.