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I'm aware of the fact that you can set it to "show" in the Java control panel, but that's not what I'm asking about. I'm curious about the other options... "Do not start" is pretty straightforward, but what about "Hide"? That would seem to imply that it is indeed running. If so, how can I make it show on demand from the hidden state?

Reason: It's annoying to have it open ALL the time, hoping there's a way to (preferably via keystroke) bring it from "hidden" to "shown" state for occasional debugging.

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To view the Java console, right click on the Java icon in the system tray (assuming you're using Windows) and choose "Open console" - as pictured at the bottom of this page

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Good to know. However, my Java icon doesn't show up in the system tray. I see a Java control panel option "Place Java icon in system tray" under the "Miscellaneous" options. I've enabled that, but still don't see a Java icon in my system tray. –  Brian Knoblauch Nov 28 '11 at 14:01
    
Did you happen to know the Java icon only appears in the system tray after you launch an applet or WebStart app in your browser? If the program is launched from the Windows command line or via an executable, the icon won't appear. If you are using Firefox, see if there is an "Open Java Console" option under the "Tools" menu. See also this discussion for possible ways to reset it. –  George3 Nov 29 '11 at 5:09
    
The apps that I periodically need to have users pop a console to help in debugging are JNLP/web start apps, and it does not appear when they launch from the browser. –  Brian Knoblauch Nov 29 '11 at 12:33
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  1. Click Start
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select Control Panel.
  4. Double click the Java icon.
  5. Click the Advance tab.
  6. Click on the + sign
  7. Select Show Console and click Apply.

enter image description here

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-1 for apparently not reading the question. I specifically mentioned that I know how to do it that way, and am looking for something different and more convenient once it's already running. –  Brian Knoblauch Nov 28 '11 at 13:56
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