I have recently updated to Windows 7 from XP. I installed the 64 bit version of SQL Developer (sqldeveloper64-3.0.04.34-no-jre). When I start the program, I get the "Enter the full pathname for java.exe" dialog box. After setting the path all works okay. However, it doesn't "stick" and each time I open up the program I have to set the path again. I didn't have to do this is XP. Is there an option I need to set in preferences? If so, I haven't been able to locate it.
It may be a permissions issue on the sqldeveloper install directory.
Try running it "as administrator".
Alternatively you can edit <sqldev>\sqldeveloper\bin\sqldeveloper.conf and add SetJavaHome C:\Java (for example)
<sqldev>\sqldeveloper.exe shouldn't open a command window.
<sqldev>\sqldeveloper\bin\sqldeveloper.exe does open a command window (useful for diagnosing problems as errors may only appear in the command window)
You're most likely running into the user access control (UAC). By default, your standard user token does not have access to write to directories like c:\Program Files, so if you copied SqlDeveloper program there than that would explain why running as administrator fixed the issue. Another option would be to grant your specific user account write access to the sql developer folder (not just thru inheritance via the administrators group). I'd say you could just change access on the .conf files but that would be more work than it's worth.