Update- I just found this below at the Java website, it seems they're "still working" on the issue.
It's been malfunctioning for about 3 weeks now, so I wonder if/when they'll ever fix it..
On Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems, while attempting to install Java or running Java applets or applications, error message is displayed-
Error : Exception_Access_Violation
We are still investigating root cause of this issue.
This issue could be seen due to User Account Control (UAC) feature enabled on Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating system.
UAC is enabled by default in Windows Vista and Windows 7, as a result, you might encounter some compatibility problems with different applications that have not yet been updated for the Windows UAC component
Temporarily disabling UAC may resolve the exception access issue, however, turning off UAC reduces the security of your system. We do not recommend leaving UAC disabled.