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Windows 8 issues

mqe's picture
mqe
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Joined: 2010-07-08

Hi All:

I recently changed to Windows 8 on two machines.  On one machine, after I download and launch VSTAR, the VSTAR logo appears, and then I get the following error:

User Prperties Error

X java.io.IOException: Access is denied

________________________________________________

 

On the other machine, I get a Windows popup screen unique to Windows 8 which says:

 

How do you want to open this type of file (.jnlp)

 

Then there is a link to look for an app in the Store...or a more options link where apps are listed...not sure which one to choose, but I don't think any of them will launch VSTAR

 

Any ideas or suggestions from other Windows 8 victims would be welcomed!

 

Cheers,

 

Ken Mogul (MQE)

 

I think this means you need
z1xq's picture
z1xq
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Joined: 2013-04-10

I think this means you need the java virtual machine installed. It is a free download.

Windows 8 problems
cpmalo87's picture
cpmalo87
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Joined: 2012-06-07

Hi Ken,

I had trouble awhile ago installing Vstar on my new laptop with Windows 8.  With suggestions from David Benn, I was able to get it up and running.  Here are a couple of things to check:

1)  Do you have the latest edition of Java Runtime installed (version 1.7 I think)?

2)  Did you download and install Vstar from the aavso page or from 'Sourceforge'?  If memory serves, it was not until I did that (for some reason) that my installation problems cleared up.

I don't remember getting your specific error. I was having trouble unzipping the file. Let me know if this helps.  If not, I'll try to repeat the process to see if I get the same error that you're getting.

Chris Maloney

Windows 8 issues
BSJ's picture
BSJ
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Joined: 2010-03-12

Hi Ken,

I don't know what is causing the error message on your first machine but to answer your question on the second machine, the file association you need is "Java Web Start". This comes with the Java Runtime Environment installation which is a free download.

If you go to the Java download site here: http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp you can get the latest Java version. VStar needs only Java 6 but it will run fine on later versions so it would be best to get the latest - Java 7. To see if it is already installed on your computer, there is a neat test program which you can get by clicking on the link under the "Windows" section to the right of the "Instructions". The link says, "verify Java has been installed correctly." When you click this link, it runs a little program that tells you what version of Java (if any) is installed in your machine. If it isn't installed then follow the instructions to install it.

Once you have verified that Java is installed correctly, if you right-click on the VStar.jnlp (which you downloaded from here: http://www.aavso.org/vstar-overview) there should be an option to "open with" Java Web Start. (I don't have a Windows 8 computer to try it on, so my wording might not be exactly correct, but it should be something like that.)

I hope this helps.

Sara

Thanks for replying to Ken's
David Benn's picture
David Benn
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Thanks for replying to Ken's question everyone!

I agree that the absence of a JVM is the (most likely) cause of the JNLP problem.

The first problem is odd. Getting an error dialog with a user properties related java.io.IOException implies that a JVM is present but that there is an error reading user properties, which is odd.

Ken, can you clarify whether you downloaded and ran VStar via the "Download VStar Now" button on this page http://www.aavso.org/vstar-overview (i.e. via WebStart) or whether you downloaded the archive from SourceForge (https://sourceforge.net/projects/vstar/files)?

Running the VStar.bat batch file in a DOS command window may provide more information. That will require the SourceForge download though. 

David

Star Win 8 issues
mqe's picture
mqe
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Joined: 2010-07-08

Thanks for all you help everyone!

 

I got VSTAR running on the machine which told me to find an app--the other machine still shows an error I can't work around--but I am going to get a new machine anyway next week with Win 8--just wanted to test that my important programs ran on Win 8 beofre making the dive.

 

The solution was to both install java and not use a previously downloaded version as suggested.

 

The reason I hadn't installed Java on the laptop (on which I don't use VSTAR--just waas using it to test things when I got the error) had to do with the fuss made about java problems by the government a while back.  But now I remember I need Java anyway to run AAVSO's remark-omatic tool for my AAVSOnet telescope advocacy work--so I guess I'll just run it and hope for the best--can't do without those tools.

 

Though if anyone has any suggestions to make Java safer, I would be interested in hearing about that as well.

 

Cheers,

 

Ken Mogul (MQE)

Win 8 issues
mqe's picture
mqe
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FYI everyone, for what it is worth--VSTAR has been one of many problems I have had with Win 8 and after much discuusion with my expert this morning who is going to build my new machine--I have decided that it is too early in the process to attempt to run Win 8--too many kinks for them to work out and too many steps backwards imbedded in the program.  So problems solved--I'm just going to run Win 7 for a few more years--though I do like how fast Win 8 boots.

Any PC users who need advice on this subject--feel free to ask!--and thanks for your responses.

 

Still not sure whether or not to feel comfortable running Java.

 

Cheers,

 

Ken Mogul (MQE)

Windows 8
HNL's picture
HNL
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Hi:  My husband deleted Java or he made it unusable.  He said that it lets in Viruses.  Also, he said that I should not consider a Laptop because they all come with 8.  Also I do  hate changes in my system like XP or upgrades just how much faster are with suppose to get.  My husband went with Fios when it came to our city (Town).  After losing our telephone service twice since then. If we cancel we have to go with other providers.  (THE PROVIDERS) sounds like a Science Fiction name. Anyhow, that's the word.  I hate to sound like a ninny. But, face he facts. Not just talk.  Bye HNL

Using Java
David Benn's picture
David Benn
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Joined: 2010-07-29

Hi all

I think it's important to recognise that the recent concerns over Java have been confined to vulnerabilities in (untrusted) Java WebStart applications and applets running in your web browser being exploited to provide access to your computer's files, applications or other resources.

This does not include:

  • Java servlets, i.e. enterprise web applications that run on servers and appear as interactive web applications; a casual web user wouldn't even be aware that it's Java (or Python or .NET or ...) running on the backend.
  • Standalone desktop Java applications. Bear in mind that it is normally expected that a desktop application will have complete access to your computer's resources.

The connection between desktop Java applications such as VStar and your web browser is that there are some commonalities between the way applets are run in your browser and the Java WebStart mechanism/environment with which you can run the application, e.g. via the "Download VStar Now" button on http://www.aavso.org/vstar-overview (or the green Download button on https://sourceforge.net/projects/vstar).

It's also important to note this comment from this official Oracle bug fix page:

...an unsuspecting user running an affected release in a browser will need to visit a malicious web page that leverages these vulnerabilities.

So, the applet/WebStart vulnerability has to be deliberately expoited, and you have to deliberately go to a web page that hosts the malicious applet/WebStart application.

If you download and run VStar (or Zapper or...) via the AAVSO web site, you are downloading desktop applications that are "digitally signed" so it is possible to say something positive about their authenticity and trustworthiness.

If you download and run VStar from a SourceForge download folder, and you are obtaining and running a desktop application that has all the rights and privileges of any other application written in any other programming language (C, C++, Python, Ruby, Perl, .Net languages such as C# and Visual Basic...).

 

Historically, Java pioneered security as applied directly to software; the ball has been dropped in recent times, as we've seen.

Does this mean we should abandon Java?

In my view, that's a step too far.

We have, for a few decades now, been living with operating systems that are written in programming languages that have considerably less safety features than Java, have been routinely exploited and patched, and continue to be. Yet we continue to use them.

As I write this, I'm reminded of a quote from Jef Raskin (the initiator of the Mac project at Apple, later taken over by Steve Jobs):

Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.

We should complain! We shouldn't have to put up with this kind of thing. Our programming languages and run-time environments should be better. But that's easier said than done. The complexity of our computers, operating systems, and the software we develop and run on them are only increasing. Testing gets you only so far. Mathematical proof of the correctness of software is improving, but is intractable in practice for large software systems. 

I don't want to diminish the importance of the Java exploits we've seen or to sweep them under the carpet. 

I just want to put them in perspective and provide some arguments against the complete abandonment of Java.

We could re-develop applications like VStar in other programming languages or as web applications running on servers (rather than as applets), but there are problems relating to the richness of the resulting interfaces, the standalone nature of the applications, not to mention the time required.

I'm not saying it should not be done, ever. Just that it's non-trivial.

I'm happy to discuss/clarify/debate any this.

Thanks for listening.

David

Another Java problem
Siobahn Morgan's picture
Siobahn Morgan
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First let me say I am very dependent upon Java for my own work (classes) and am very frustrated with the many barriers that have come about where Java is inaccessible in browsers - I don't want to have to re-create all of my own programs everytime Windows or browsers or java updates.

That said, I have recently had a problem running VStar on a laptop that got a regular update (which could have been from the university so it may have been bundled with a couple of other things).  Either way it isn't running on my laptop, but VStar does run on my desktop.  I've tried both the jnlp file and the full download of the exe file.  In both cases I get an error message about Java (attached as Capture0) and I've also included the image of the cmd window showing the full error trail.  I have Java 8 release 51, which I've re-installed a couple of times to no avail.  

What I'm really wondering is if the Java 8 installation (which also removed all of the old java versions) doesn't have everything like my desktop installation of Java 8?  Since I do my own java programming on the desktop and have over the years installed multiple versions of Java, could that be the issue?  Or is it something else?  

This isnt a critical issue since it is still accessible on my other machine, but it could be a continuing issue with java-browser-windows security restrictions.

Thanks for any help

Siobahn Morgan

The answer is to buy a
pox's picture
pox
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Joined: 2010-08-12

The answer is to buy a machine from a proper computer seller, not a high street store. They have no idea what they are selling you; they just want to pass goods along. You can (as I do) ask for a hard drive with no OS and install it yourself with a disc of your choice. I still run XP home on my main PC and W7 on my laptop which I use at the scope.

Java is as susceptible to viruses as the machine it's installed on. You just need a good AV program. I use windows defender. It's free from Micro$oft!

I really, really hate Windows 8 and hope it goes the same way as vista. You don't need it. The farther we go through the windows numbers the more it becomes 'windows for idiots'. I have a 3rd machine I do development in Visual Basic on and it runs windows 98SE. No kidding!

Another Java problem
David Benn's picture
David Benn
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Hi Siobahn

I note the libpng error in both screenshots. Odd. I suspect this is related to the splash screen. OTOH, it could relate to other image loading (e.g. toolbar icons) at startup.

Can I ask you to try an experiment for me? See the VStar.bat file at the top-level (called by VStar.exe)? Please make a copy of that file, e.g. VStar2.bat and edit it so that:

java -splash:"%VSTAR_HOME%\extlib\vstaricon.png" -Xms25m -Xmx500m -jar "%VSTAR_HOME%\dist\vstar.jar" %*

becomes:

java -Xms25m -Xmx500m -jar "%VSTAR_HOME%\dist\vstar.jar" %*

Then run VStar2.bat from a command prompt and let us know what the result is.

It would be interesting to know whether the problem exists with a full JDK 8 download rather than JRE.

I've certainly had VStar running on a Windows 8 machine but don't recall the exact version; your comments are heading in that direction.

David

Windows 8
HNL's picture
HNL
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Hi:  I have always had problems with Windows 8 but, NOW here comes Windows10.  Just as I was managing with 8.  Just thought I would express my dislike of 8. HNL

 

NullPointerException
Siobahn Morgan's picture
Siobahn Morgan
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David,

I've edited the bat file and the error still occurs (though of course without the warning for the "splash" page).  All of the java runtime errors are the same that I included in the previous post in the image files.

That's what I'm wondering about the java 8 installation and whether it has everything included.

I was just wondering whether there may not have been a complete installation of Java 8 on this laptop since it has more administrative restrictions on it (compared to my desktop which I totally control).  I think I'll try a off-line installation of java as an Admin and see if it works after that.

Stay tuned!

Siobahn

 

NullPointerException
Siobahn Morgan's picture
Siobahn Morgan
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Nope, that didn't fix it.

Well, I'll just stick with running it on my desktop.

Siobahn

NullPointerException
David Benn's picture
David Benn
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Hi Siobahn

Hmm. All I can think to suggest at the moment is to install a different JVM version (e.g. JRE 7 vs 8).

David

Few viable alternatives
lmk's picture
lmk
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Joined: 2010-07-23

Well, with uSoft Windows controlling >90% market share of all desktop/laptop computers OS (Mac OS far behind at 7.5% and Linux a paltry 1.6%), we are all unfortunately at the mercy of whatever new versions Mr. Gates's offspring decide to dump down upon us. More and more the Windows is becoming "dumbed down" for the point and click masses, who haven't the vaguest clue what Java even is.

I do think it would have been better, at least the astronomical software community, to develop the apps primarily for Linux, or at least concurrently with Windows, though I know its a lot of extra work. But a free/open-source OS is truly the best way for anyone a bit technically inclined, as our community members clearly are.

Mike

 

Few viable alternatives
David Benn's picture
David Benn
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Hi Mike

One thing that I've always liked about Java is that the effort required to create something that works on all major platforms yet can be made to have a more or less native look and feel is considerably less than for many languages and frameworks.

There is no native code in VStar, it's all pure Java.

Interesting to look at the download stats by OS for the last couple of years for VStar:

  https://sourceforge.net/projects/vstar/files/2.16.8/stats/os?dates=2013-01-01+to+2015-07-25

It's not dissimilar to the percentages you mention, although perhaps a little more Mac OS X and a little less Linux than I'd have expected, and somewhat less Windows than I'd have thought. The Unknown category is odd and it would be interesting to see how much of that falls into Windows, Mac, Linux etc. Of course, that doesn't tell us what proportion of people download when using WebStart.

David

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