If you receive the error message "The computer was unable to connect to AOL (AC-0000, AC-0001, AC-0002, AC-0003)" while trying to sign on to the AOL service, try the solutions listed below to resolve the issue. After trying the first solution, check whether you are able to connect to the AOL service. If you continue receiving the error message, try 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 attempting the solutions given below. 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 whether the Web can be accessed using an external browser
- Temporarily disable your firewall or configure McAfee
- Restore McAfee Default Settings
- Disable SystemGuard in McAfee Internet Security Suite - Special edition from AOL
- Check the modem using Windows dialer
- Repair the network stack list using NetShell
- Delete all connection locations and redetect the modem
- Manually add access phone numbers
- Uninstall and reinstall ACS
- Enable only essential startup programs
- Configure remote access settings
- Add a Broadband location
- Run Quick Restore
- Power cycle the computer, modem, and any home networking equipment
- Uninstall and reinstall the AOL software
Note: If you are using a dial-up connection to connect to the AOL service, skip to Temporarily disable your firewall or configure McAfee to continue troubleshooting.
Determine whether you are able to access the Internet using Internet Explorer or Netscape. Try connecting to a Web page, such as http://www.aol.com/, with a stand-alone browser to determine whether the connection to the Internet works without using your AOL software.
- If you are able to access the Web using an external browser, go to Temporarily disable your firewall or configure McAfee to continue troubleshooting.
- If you are NOT able to access the Web using an external browser, restart your computer and all connectivity-related hardware components to ensure that the computer responds correctly. To know how to do so, refer to our online help article Restart the computer, modem, and router.
After restarting the computer, modem, and router, check whether you are able to access the Web using an external browser. If you are still unable to access the Web, you will need to contact your ISP for further assistance. The AOL software is a program on your computer just like Microsoft Internet Explorer. If Internet Explorer does not function with your Internet connection, then the AOL software won't be able to either. Therefore, in order to get the issue resolved, you'll need to contact your ISP.
On the other hand, if you are able to access the Web using an external browser after restarting the computer, try signing on to the AOL service. If you are still unable to sign on, go to the next solution to continue troubleshooting.
There may be a firewall or other security software on your computer that is preventing you from connecting to the AOL service. You can temporarily disable your firewall and check whether you are able to connect to the Internet. To learn how to disable the firewall, read our online help article Disable a firewall.
To restore your McAfee Firewall back to the default settings:
1. Click the Start button and then move your pointer over All Programs, McAfee, and then McAfee Firewall.
2. Click Firewall.
3. Click Settings.
4. Click Restore Defaults.
SystemGuard may be blocking the AOL software from connecting to the AOL service. Disabling SystemGuard may help you resolve this issue. For instructions on how to disable SystemGuard, refer to the Disable SystemGuard section in the online help article SystemGuard in McAfee Internet Security Suite - Special edition from AOL.
While troubleshooting connectivity issues, it is important to ensure that the modem is working properly. If the modem does not generate any output, you will need to contact the manufacturer of the modem for further assistance. The instructions to check the modem using the Windows dialer may differ depending on the version of Windows installed on your computer. Please click the appropriate link from the ones given below to check the modem using the Windows dialer.
Note: If you are using Windows 98/Me, follow the instructions given in the online help article How to run WebUtil.
One of the components of the Internet connection on your computer is a built-in set of instructions called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). TCP/IP can sometimes become damaged or corrupted. If you can't access websites in spite of trying all the above-mentioned solutions, we suspect TCP/IP to be the cause of the issue.
TCP/IP is a core component of Windows. Therefore, you cannot remove the TCP/IP stack. However, you can reset TCP/IP to its original state by using the NetShell utility (netsh).
Click the link corresponding to the version of Windows installed on your computer to know how to repair the network stack.
Completely deleting the sign on locations and connectivity files removes bad access phone numbers, 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 for details of 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 access numbers that you use to connect to the AOL service may have changed or may be temporarily unavailable. Manually adding access phone numbers may help you resolve this issue, especially if you are traveling with your computer. The instructions to manually add access numbers may differ depending on the version of ACS on your computer. Please click the link corresponding to the version of ACS you have on your computer for instructions to add new access numbers.
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 below to know how to uninstall and reinstall ACS.
Multiple programs may have been set to start automatically when a computer is turned on. Some of these programs may cause the issue that you are currently facing. Not all startup programs are essential for the proper functioning of your computer. Click the link corresponding to the version of Windows installed on your computer to know 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 for instructions to close all programs.
The Windows operating system contains remote access service files that the AOL software requires to connect you to the Internet. If these files are not configured properly, they can cause the issue that you are currently experiencing.
Please read our online help article Configure remote access settings to help resolve this issue.
Note: If you are using Windows 98/Me, skip to Uninstall dial-up networking (DUN).
1. Click on the AOL Desktop Icon.
2. Click Connectivity and select Connect Options.
3. Click on Advanced Broadband Settings.
4. Click Continue.
5. Click Add a Broadband profile.
6. Type a profile name and click Add.
7. Check the box next to Automatically reconnect me and ignore interruptions in the event of an unexpected disconnect. Next, click the drop-down box under Connection Type and select Broadband (High-Speed, Cable, DSL, or other ISP) and click Save.
The Quick Restore feature allows you to reset the AOL software to the default state by deleting all updates downloaded in the past. This can help resolve issues that you may have with your AOL software without having to reinstall the software.
Once Quick Restore is completed, you will receive a series of AOL software updates, also known as AOL TOD (Tools on Demand) updates. To learn more about AOL TOD updates, read our online help article AOL TOD update.
Please click the link corresponding to the version of ACS installed on your computer for instructions to run Quick Restore.
Note: If you are using AOL Desktop v10.1, skip to the next solution.
The AOL software can use your existing broadband connection or create its own connection to access the AOL service. Restarting your computer and resetting your connection hardware will help your computer get a better connection.
To power cycle your computer, modem, and router:
1. Shut down your computer:
- If using Windows Vista, click Start, click the arrow next to Lock this computer, and then click Shut Down.
- If using Windows XP Home Edition, click Start, and then click Turn Off Computer. Click Turn off.
- If using Windows XP Pro/2000/Me, click Start, and then click Shut Down. Click the What do you want the computer to do? drop-down menu to open it, select Shut down, and then click OK.
- If using Windows 98, click Start, and then click Shut Down. Select the Shut down option, and then click OK.
2. Unplug the power cord from your cable, DSL, or dial-up modem, and router (if you have one).
3. Wait 30 seconds.
4. If you use an external modem, plug the power cord into your cable, DSL, or dial-up modem.
5. If you have a router, plug the power cord into your router.
6. Turn on your computer.
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.