I believe the title of my thread explains what I am trying to do... I have a .class file, I need to look at the code has generated the .class. is this possible, and if yes, can you tell me how?

You need to look for java decompiler, however be aware that you will not get exact code as you do see in java file

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Not to mention that the *.class file is distributed so you don't see the code.
If you are trying to sell a product, do you want people looking at (and stealing) YOUR code?

that's correct hfx642, I thought of it too. (one would think) if the author wanted his code known, he'd distribute the code. however, I assure you this is something between friends, no business involved. the file in this case is a one-file applet, from long ago. so I guess you see it is not like I am trying to steal someone's code. I was given the file... the applet won't work though, so I want to open the code and try to fix it.

There is a java decompiler available at: [snipped]
The first actually working analytical decompiler for Java and probably for a high-level programming language in general.

Atanas: something tells me you are just advertising this product. if you give this as answer on a current or active topic, no problem, but if you revive several old threads just to promote this decompiler, it seems a bit obvious to what you're doing.