Unable to start the AOL Desktop Software

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Unable to start the AOL Desktop Software

If you are unable to start the AOL Desktop Software, try the solutions listed below. After trying the first solution, check whether you can start the AOL Desktop Software. If you are still unable to start the software, continue trying the suggested solutions until the problem is fixed.

Note: You may wish to print or save a copy of these instructions as this page may not remain visible as you go through the suggested steps.

Information you need

You will need to know the version of the Microsoft Windows operating system and the AOL Desktop Software installed on your computer. You will also need to know the version of AOL Connectivity Service (ACS) that the AOL Desktop Software (AOL 9.0 or higher) uses to connect to the internet. You can find this information by following the instructions given in the help articles mentioned below:

Note: If you are using AOL 9.0 VR or higher of the AOL Desktop Software, you have ACS 4 installed on your computer.

Solutions


Restart your computer

If you haven't recently restarted your computer or you don't restart your computer very often, we recommend that you do so. Restarting the computer clears the internal memory and often resolves many issues.

For instructions on how to restart the computer, please read our help article Restart the computer.

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Run the AOL Process Shut Down utility

Closing all AOL applications may resolve the issue. If you are using ACS 4 or ACS 3, you can use the AOL Process Shut Down utility to close all AOL applications currently running on your computer. If you are using ACS 2 or ACS 1, you will need to manually close all AOL applications. Please click the appropriate link below for instructions to close AOL applications.

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Start the AOL Desktop Software from the Windows Start menu

Check whether you can start the AOL Desktop Software from the Windows Start menu.

If using AOL Desktop 9.6, AOL 9.5 or AOL 9.1:

1. Click Start.

2. Click All Programs.

3. Click AOL then click AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5 or AOL 9.1.

If using any version of AOL 9.0:

1. Click Start.

2. Select All Programs or Programs.

3. Select AOL then click AOL 9.0.

If using AOL Desktop 8.0:

1. Click Start.

2. Select All Programs or Programs.

3. Select AOL then click AOL 8.0.

If using AOL Desktop v10.1:

1. Click Start.

2. Select All Programs or Programs.

3. Select AOL then click AOL Desktop v10.1.

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Delete all connection locations and redetect the modem

Completely deleting the sign on locations and connectivity files removes bad access phone numbers, dialing options and incorrect modem or broadband settings. The AOL Desktop Software will automatically search for and select the correct connection device and guide you through the process of selecting appropriate access phone numbers and dialing options.

IMPORTANT: You will incur charges on your phone bill if you select an AOL access phone number that is a long-distance call or is not covered by your local calling plan. Please check with your local phone company whether the access phone numbers that you select are local for your calling plan. Remember that members on certain plans may be charged an hourly rate for dial-up connections. See AOL Keyword: My Account for details regarding the charges applicable to your account.

Please click the link corresponding to the version of ACS on your computer for instructions to delete the connection locations and redetect the modem.

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Configure ACS to start automatically

If ACS is configured incorrectly, it can cause the issue that you are currently experiencing. Configuring ACS to start automatically often resolves the issue.

To configure ACS to start automatically:

1. Open the Services window.

  • If you are using Windows 7 or Vista:

    a. Click the Start button.

    b. In the Search box, type "services.msc" and then press the Enter key on your keyboard.

    c. If prompted by the User Account Control window, click Yes or Continue.

  • If you are using Windows XP, 2000, Me or 98:

    a. Click Start, and then click Run.

    b. In the Open box, type "services.msc" and then press the Enter key on your keyboard.

2. In the Name column locate AOL Connectivity Service and right-click on it.

3. Click Properties.

4. On the General tab, click the Startup type drop-down menu to open it, and then select Automatic.

Note: If the service is already set to Automatic, skip to the next step.

5. Under Service status, click Start.

Note: If the service has already started, the Start button will be inactive and you will not be able to click it.

6. Click Apply and then OK.

7. Close the Services window and launch the AOL Desktop Software.

 

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Uninstall and reinstall ACS

The AOL Desktop Software uses ACS to connect to the AOL service. Uninstalling ACS will allow a fresh copy of the ACS files to be installed. Please click the appropriate link from the table below for instructions on how to uninstall and reinstall ACS.

Operating System
ACS Version
Windows 7/Vista ACS 4 NA NA NA
Windows XP ACS 4 ACS 3 ACS 2 ACS 1
Windows 2000 ACS 4 ACS 3 ACS 2 ACS 1
Windows Me/98 ACS 4 ACS 3 ACS 2 ACS 1
 

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Enable only essential startup programs

Multiple programs may have been set to start automatically when a computer is turned on. This may cause the computer to slow down. Not all startup programs are essential for the proper functioning of a computer. Click the link corresponding to the version of Windows installed on your computer for instructions on how to enable only essential startup programs on your computer.

If you are using Windows 2000/Me/98, you will have to manually close all the programs currently running on your computer to resolve the issue. Please click the link corresponding to the version of Windows you have on your computer to know how to close all programs.

 

Disable SystemGuard using McAfee

SystemGuard may be blocking the AOL Desktop Software from connecting to the AOL service. Disabling SystemGuard may help you resolve the issue. For instructions on how to disable SystemGuard, please refer to the Disable SystemGuard section in the help article SystemGuard in McAfee Internet Security Suite - Special edition from AOL.

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Run Quick Restore

The Quick Restore feature allows you to reset the AOL Desktop Software to the default state by deleting all the updates downloaded in the past. It can help resolve issues that you may have with AOL Desktop without having to reinstall the software.

Note: Please close the AOL Desktop Software before running Quick Restore.

Once Quick Restore is completed, you may receive a series of AOL Desktop Software updates, known as AOL TOD (Tools on Demand) updates. For more information, refer to our help article AOL TOD update.

The instructions to run Quick Restore may differ depending on the version of ACS installed on your computer. Click the appropriate link from the ones given below for instructions to run Quick Restore.

Note: If you are using AOL Desktop v10.1, skip to the next solution, Scan the computer for viruses using McAfee.

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Scan the computer for viruses using McAfee

Viruses or spyware are downloaded onto your computer through software that you download, email messages that you open or websites that you visit. They are usually downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge and may cause the problem you are currently experiencing. Please read our help article Scan your computer using McAfee Internet Security Suite 2009 - Special edition from AOL to learn how to scan your computer for viruses or spyware.

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Uninstall Internet Explorer 9.0 if your operating system is not a 64-bit operating system

Internet Explorer 9.0 could be the cause of the problem you are facing. You are suggested to uninstall Internet Explorer 9.0 if you are on a 32-bit operating system. Do not uninstall Internet Explorer 9.0 if your operating system is a 64-bit operating system. For instructions to uninstall Internet Explorer 9.0 refer Uninstall Internet Explorer 9.0.

Note: You can have a 64-bit operating system only of your system processor is 64-bit compatible.To know if your Windows operating system is a 62-bit or a 32-bit one click here.

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Uninstall and reinstall the AOL Desktop Software

If the issue persists, we recommend that you uninstall and reinstall the AOL Desktop Software. Uninstalling the AOL Desktop Software removes all damaged and non-repairable files. Once the uninstallation process is complete, reinstalling a new copy of the AOL Desktop Software is quick and easy.

Note: Uninstalling the AOL Desktop Software removes all Usernames and settings associated with it; however, your Personal Filing Cabinet files will automatically be stored on the desktop in a folder named Saved on AOL.

IMPORTANT: If you have saved your AOL password on the AOL Desktop Software, ensure that you remember your password before you uninstall the AOL Desktop because uninstalling the software will delete your saved password. If you don’t remember your password, we recommend that you change your password before proceeding. You will also need to remember the answer to your Account Security Question (ASQ) to be able to change your password. You can change your ASQ if you don’t remember the answer. For instructions on how to change your password or ASQ, refer to the following help articles:

Please click the link corresponding to the version of Windows on your computer for instructions to uninstall the AOL Desktop Software.

Note: If you are unable to uninstall the AOL Desktop Software, refer to our help article Can't uninstall the AOL Desktop Software.

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Last updated: 06-10-2014
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