Maybe Java wants you to upgrade to a more current version of Windows. XP is 12 years old, and MS is going to remove the last remnants of support next year. If you stay on XP, you're going to see more and more of this kind of thing. I've installed the current version of Java on Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 with no problems. I'm no big fan of Windows 8, but Windows 7 is great, so I'd recommend giving it some thought. Another thing you could consider is getting rid of Java all together. Very few things use it any more.
I have windows XP and have recently updated my java to 7u21. It downloads fine but when it goes back to the verify your java page it will automatically go back to download the latest version.
I have tried uninstalling the version and then reinstalling with the same results.
I have also ran the malwarebytes program, revo, cccleaner but with no change to Java.
I am stumped as to why the Java will not stick, but shows that it is working in the control panel.
Any ideas would be great.