Installing Tomcat on Windows 7

Tomcat is an open source Java Servlet container developed by the Apache Software Foundation. It is bundled with a very capable Java based Web (HTTP) Server.

Which Java to install ?

Tomcat requires Java to be installed – it is afterall a Java Servlet container. Since Tomcat 5.5 the dependency on the JDK (Java Development Kit) for compilation of JSPs (Java Server Pages) has been removed. The Eclipse JDT Java compiler has been bundled with Tomcat to provide this capability. This means that we just need to install the JRE (Java Runtime Environment).

So its a simple decision then – or is it ?

Java Virtual Machines

From the Oracle Java SE Documentation:

The JDKTM provides one or more implementations of the JavaTM virtual machine (VM):

  • On platforms typically used for client applications, the JDK comes with a VM implementation called the Java HotSpotTM Client VM (client VM). The client VM is tuned for reducing start-up time and memory footprint. It can be invoked by using the -client command-line option when launching an application.
  • On all platforms, the JDK comes with an implementation of the Java virtual machine called the Java HotSpot Server VM (server VM). The server VM is designed for maximum program execution speed. It can be invoked by using the -server command-line option when launching an application.

The above documentation and information from other resources on the differences between the Client VM and Server VM suggest that we should be using the Server VM when running Tomcat on a server.

Unfortunately the Server VM is only bundled with the JDK. So we are back to our dependency on the JDK. If you are installing Tomcat on a server and require the optimisations around speed and for long lived processes install the JDK and use the Server VM.

Which Tomcat Binary Distribution ?

Just when you thought it was getting simpler … The Tomcat 6 Downloads page has 6 options for binary distributions.

Pick the 32-bit/64-bit Windows Service Installer option. This distribution is geared towards users planning to launch Tomcat through Windows services and also provides the compiledAPR/native library.


Download and install the Java 6 SE JDK. Remember to install the 64-bit version if you are running on a 64-bit OS. The Tomcat installer will look for a 64-bit Java VM on a 64-bit OS.

Download and install the Tomcat 6.0.29 32-bit/64-bit Windows Service Installer.

Ensure that you select the Service and Native options under the Tomcat component. TheManager application component provides a web based management application.

Tomcat 3

You will be asked to choose an HTTP connector port for Tomcat and if you chose to install the Manager component you will also be required to configure authentication details for the Manager.

Tomcat 5

When asked to provide the path to the java virtual machine to use, specify the JRE folder of the installed JDK.

Tomcat 6

When the install is complete, the Tomcat service will be automatically started if you chose Run Apache Tomcat in the final screen on the install wizard.

Tomcat 9

Confirm the install

Once the service has started, the Tomcat icon should appear in the taskbar. Right click the icon and select Configure from the menu.

Tomcat 10 Tomcat 11


Select the Java tab on the Apache Tomcat 6 Properties window. Confirm that the Server VM (jre6\bin\server\jvm.dll) is being used by Tomcat.

Tomcat 12

Open the Windows Services manager and confirm that the Tomcat service has been correctly installed.

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Finally confirm that you can communicate with Tomcat on the configured HTTP port. Openhttp://localhost:8080 in your browser.

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