Never had a problem with Java.
I think most of the people who have had problems with Java have refused the updates. Personally I let it do everything it wants and I've never regretted it. My anti-virus software, which also works entirely automatically behind the scenes, handles any problems. Too many people try to fool around with their PC settings, knowing too little about them.
My advice is:
Firstly, use fairly late equipment; it is simply NOT true that your old banger is "just as good as the new stuff".
Secondly, use 'later' operating systems; Windows 7 is great. It's MUCH better than XP, even though XP was pretty good. I know because I used XP quite satisfactorily for four or five years! And if after another, say in six months most people report that Windows 8 is also great, UPGRADE. Sticking with the old stuff only causes compatibility problems with software, your browser, your anti-virus, ad nauseum.
Thirdly, make sure you have good anti-virus software: PAY for it, that's my belief.
Finally, let everything do ALL of it's own stuff without interference: updates, upgrades, the lot! LEAVE IT ALONE.
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