Yes, I use Windows update almost daily (except most for the optional updates, which i find can cause problems such as loss of sound when updating sound drivers and other issues - causing problems when they should be helping.)
AFAIK I've checked everthing, inc. firewalls.
Went back to IE7 - still no java. I remember posting this problem on this forum a few years ago. I think it must have been cured after reformating my drive as I'd forgetten it until now. I'd like to know the cause of it though.
Meanwhile I'm using Firefox which is OK most of the time but I have to switch to IE when a page is very slow to load which happens occasionally.