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It is a known issue: http://java.com/en/download/help/clearcache_upgrade.xml.
I encountered the same issue once but since then it has worked for us on multiple machines. We had the same issue with u24 when the app failed to download. We tried the latest u33, which deleted the apps shortcut for some reason, but downloaded and ran the app successfully.
Edited by: 942535 on 26/06/2012 20:47
I have seen this post a little bit late, but... We have also encountered such issue.
There is another workaround than ask people to empty the java web start cache.
In order to force the end user's computer to download again you application entirely, we have signed again ALL the jar files and uploaded them to our server.
That works well but... if somebody download the "new" files and upgrades java to 1.6_0_33 afterwards... same issue will appear again.
Please observe that the traffic in this forum has started to decrease strongly. That's not amazing when you see that you cannot count on this product.
Java web start has never worked correctly and that for a long time. This one suffers of numerous bugs and regressions. We should rather call it Java Nightmare Neverstart
It's a shame.
Sun has been acquired by Oracle but that does not seem change anything.