OpenRefine: Debugging “Failed to use jdatapath” Error

Zdeněk Nešpor OpenRefine Leave a Comment

For some reason, you are not able to launch OpenRefine and keep seeing error Failed to use jdatapath in the console? Check this detailed tutorial to debug and fix the issue with missing variables in Windows.

Sometimes after launching the software, you can see error refine_server] Failed to use jdatapath to detect user data path: resorting to environment variables in the console. In browser will be automatically opened a new tab on standard address But instead of the OpenRefine user interface, you’ll only see an error message saying something like this page is not available or another similar report.

Usually, this means that OpenRefine cannot find a path to Java installation on your device. Or to be precise, to system variable which OpenRefines uses and which defines the path to Java. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to verify Java installation and variables on your device. Tutorial is primarily focused on operating system Windows 10. But it should be helpful with most of the Windows distributions. I tested everything with OpenRefine versions 2.6, 2.7, and 2.8 in combination with Java 7, 8 and JDK 8.

1. Java check

Verify that you have Java installed on your PC. The best place to check is disk C in folder Program Files. Or another folder you use to install the software. If you do not have Java, download, and install it (see links below), the standard version should be perfectly fine for you. But you can try downloading JDK (Java Developer Kit), sometimes it can be a more powerful option.

Java downloads:

After installing Java, try to relaunch OpenRefine. If it’s still not working, continue to the next step.

2. System variables check

1. You have Java installed. But OpenRefine is still not launching and returns jadatapath error. The next step is to check Windows variables.

2. Open any folder and in the left part of the window locate icon This computer.

3. Right click on This computer icon and go to Properties.

4. In the left part of the new window click on option Advanced system settings.

5. In system properties window click on the button Environment Variables.

6. Now you should be able to see the window with variables. In two lists of variables, search the one which is called JAVA_HOME. Look into both sections – user and system variables. The value of the variable should be equal to a valid path to a functional Java installation.

7. If you couldn’t find this variable, you will have to add a new one in the next steps. If it exists, make sure that the path to Java installation is valid or needs some fixing.

3. Definition and setting of the variable

1. If the variable is missing, you’ll have to add it. Or existing incorrect variable must be fixed by editing it.

2. Under the list of system variables, click on the button New.

3. Define new variable. Into field variable put name JAVA_HOME. Into field value put path to functional Java or JDK installation. For example C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_152. Path can be pasted manually or by buttons for browsing directories or files.

4. Save new or edited variable by clicking on button OK. Now it’s time to save your work. The next step is rebooting your computer before the new variable can take place and effect.

5. Reboot your computer.

4. OpenRefine boot test

After rebooting your PC, try to launch OpenRefine. You may still see the jdatapath error on some occasions. But if you proceeded correctly, the program should start without any further problems. And it should be available at standard address

Final words

I sincerely hope my tutorial helped you to resolve any issues with OpenRefine and environment variables in Windows. This problem can happen after some Windows updates or in case you’re working with multiple Java installations. In case OpenRefine is still not working for you, the primary error is somewhere else. Leave a comment if this fixed your issues or if you need any more help with debugging.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.