If you may receive the message "AOL has encountered a problem and needs to close" while using the AOL software, try the solutions listed below to resolve the issue. After trying the first solution, check whether the issue is resolved. If you still receive the message, continue using the suggested solutions until the problem is fixed.
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 installed on your computer. You can find this information by following the steps given in the online help article How do I determine the version of Windows I have?
You will also need to know the version of AOL Connectivity Service (ACS) installed on your computer before you proceed. If you are using AOL 9.0 VR or higher, you have ACS 4 installed on your computer. If you are using AOL 9.0 Optimized, AOL 9.0 Optimized SE/LE, or AOL Security Edition, follow the instructions given in the online help article How do I determine the version of AOL Connectivity Service (ACS) I have?
- Verify the minimum system requirements for the AOL software
- Check your mailbox size
- Reset web settings
- Replace main.idx file and delete compver.bin file
- Enable only essential startup programs
- Delete all connection locations and redetect the modem
- Uninstall AOL Connectivity Service (ACS)
- Manually rename the atwpkt2.sys file
- Run Quick Restore
- Remove the Personal Filing Cabinet (PFC) file of the affected Screen name
- Uninstall and reinstall the AOL software
- Manually delete all AOL folders in Safe mode and then reinstall the AOL software
- Contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
- Contact your computer manufacturer
Computers that fail to meet the minimum system requirements may experience this issue. Open AOL System Information to verify the minimum system requirements for the AOL software.
To open AOL System Information, click Start, select All Programs or Programs, select AOL or America Online, and then click AOL System Information. To know the minimum system requirements for the AOL software, refer to our online help article Minimum system requirements for the AOL software.
Note: Once you have verified that your computer meets the minimum system requirements, close the AOL System Information window.
It is possible that you encounter this error if you have crossed your mailbox size limit. If the error is caused by mailbox oversize you will see this error most commonly when you are trying to open your mailbox. Refer Message: My mailbox is full to know how many mails you can store and how to reduce the size of your mailbox.
You may encounter this issue if you have multiple browsers installed. Reset your web settings to set things right. Refer Reset web settings to do so.
Replacing the main.idx file in the idb folder with the main.idx file from the backup folder and deleting the compver.bin file will help refresh the AOL software. Please click the link corresponding to the version of Windows you have on your computer for instructions to replace the main.idx file and delete the compver.bin file.
Multiple programs may have been set to start automatically when a computer is turned on. These programs may cause the computer to slow down. Not all startup programs are essential for the proper functioning of your computer. For instructions to enable only the essential startup programs on your computer, please click the appropriate link from the ones given below, depending on the version of Windows installed on your computer.
If you are using Windows 2000/Me/98, you will have to manually close all the programs that are currently running on your computer to resolve the issue. Please click the link corresponding to the version of Windows you have on your computer for instructions to close all programs.
Completely deleting the sign on locations and connectivity files removes not only bad access phone numbers but also dialing options and incorrect modem or broadband settings. The AOL software will automatically search for and select the right connection device and guide you through the process of selecting appropriate access phone numbers and dialing options.
WARNING: 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 to determine 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 or go to http://myaccount.aol.com 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.
The AOL 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 given below to know how to uninstall and reinstall ACS.
Manually renaming the atwpkt2.sys files will eliminate the conflict between the files and the other networking hardware or software on your computer. To know how to rename the atwpkt2.sys files, click the appropriate link, depending on the operating system, found in the article Message: System crash in ATWPkt2 while signed on to the AOL service.
Note: Please close the AOL software before running Quick Restore.
The Quick Restore feature allows you to reset the AOL software to the default state by deleting all the updates downloaded in the past. It can help resolve issues that you may have with your AOL software without having to reinstall the software.
Once Quick Restore is completed, you may receive a series of AOL software updates, also known as AOL TOD (Tools on Demand) updates. For more information, read our online 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.
We have faced situations where the Personal Filing Cabinet (PFC) file may have become permanently corrupted. In these cases the PCF file will have to be removed from its default location for the mailbox to display correctly. You can move the PFC file to your desktop to continue using it.
Note: Run the AOL process shut down utility before you move the PFC.
To move the PFC file to the desktop:
1. Close the AOL Desktop software.
2. Click Start, and click All Programs/Programs.
3. Click AOL, and then click AOL System Information.
4. Open the Data folder:
- If you are using AOL 9.0VR or higher, click the AOL Software tab, and then click Open Data Folder. Data Folder.
- If you are using AOL 8.0 plus or lower, click Folder.
Note: If you are unable to access AOL System Information, go to the online help article Open Data Folder for instructions on how to manually open the Data Folder.
5. Right-click the Screen name file that has no extension, and then click Cut.
6. On the upper right, click X to close the Organize window.
7. Click Close or X to close the AOL System Information window.
8. Right-click on the Desktop and click Paste to paste the PFC on the desktop.
9. Start the AOL software as you normally would.
Note: Ensure that you do not sign on to the AOL software.
10. Click the File menu, and then click Open.
11. Locate the [Screen name].pfc file on your Desktop, and then click Open to access your old PFC file.
Note: Please repeat Steps 10 and 11 each time you want to access your old PFC file.
If the issue persists, we recommend that you uninstall and reinstall the AOL software. Uninstalling the AOL software removes all damaged and non-repairable files, and reinstalling the software installs new, error-free files.
Please click the link corresponding to the version of Windows on your computer for instructions to uninstall the AOL software.
The solution requires you to delete all AOL folders in Safe mode. Before you start the steps to delete all AOL folders, it is suggested that you create a backup copy of the organize folder.
To create a backup copy of the Organize folder:
1. Open Local Disk (C:) on your computer.
2. Double-click ProgramData.
3. Open the AOL folder, and then select the version of AOL you are using.
4. Right-click the Organize folder, and then click Copy.
5. Go to the Windows Desktop and right-click on the screen.
6. Click Paste.
To delete all AOL folders in Safe Mode:
1. Restart your computer.
2. While your computer is booting, immediately start tapping the F8 key for about once a second, until the Windows Startup menu is displayed.
3. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to select the Safe Mode option and then press Enter. Windows will boot in Safe Mode.
4. After Windows starts, a message is displayed explaining Safe Mode. Click OK or YES.
5. Click Start and then click Computer.
6. Double-click Local Disk (C:).
7. Double-click Program Files.
8. Right-click any folder labeled AOL, AOL #.#, or America Online #.#, and then click Delete.
Note: The # symbol here represents the AOL software version number.
9. Click Yes. Repeat the previous step until you delete all the AOL and America Online #.# folders.
10. Double-click Common Files.
11. Right-click aol, and then click Delete.
12. Click Yes. Repeat Steps 10 and 11 to delete the aolshare folder.
13. Click X to exit.
You can now reinstall the AOL software as shown in our help article How do I install the AOL Desktop Software.
If the issue persists, you will have to contact your broadband service provider to help you troubleshoot the issue further. The AOL Desktop Software appears to be functioning correctly, but you are unable to establish a connection to the internet. When you contact your ISP, please make sure you let the representative know that you are having trouble connecting to the internet.
We have determined that the issue is not caused by the AOL software. We recommended that you contact your computer manufacturer, or if your computer is no longer under warranty, a local computer repair shop or technician, for further assistance. Let the computer manufacturer/technician know about the issue. There are many other programs that AOL uses in order to deliver content to your computer, and these programs should function efficiently. All software programs are highly dependent on the computer's operating system and other applications to work properly. It appears that one of the following programs/applications may be the cause of the issue.
- The computer operating system
- Several media players
- Many text editors and text viewers
- Microsoft Internet Explorer and other web browsers