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in Java by (3.9k points)

I like to be sure that everything will work just by copying the contents of the Java folder and setting the environment variables.

I usually run the installer in a virtual machine, zip the \java folder contents, go back to a snapshot of the virtual machine, and then unzip the compressed file.

I couldn't find a place where the latest JRE / JDK is available as a zip file...

http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp

http://download.java.net/jdk6/

Alternately, is it safe to assume that exe installer from sun just will just unzip the whole thing, without messing around with the registry, environment variables, etc...?

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You can download a Java Portable of PortableApps.com. It won't modify your system settings. You can set it on your USB stick.

UPD: for these who require JDK there's an open-source design OpenJDK Portable

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