Select the issue you are experiencing from the list below to reveal solutions and troubleshooting steps.

Trouble downloading AOL Desktop 9.7

If you're having trouble downloading AOL Desktop 9.7 from daol.aol.com/software, follow the instructions below to resolve the issue. Please go through the solutions in order to resolve your issue.

Reset web settings

If you've installed another web browser after installing Internet Explorer, some of your Internet Explorer settings may have changed. You can reset your Internet Explorer to its default settings. The homepage, search pages and the default browser will be reset without changing the settings of the other browsers on your computer. Please visit our help article Reset web settings to learn more.

Download from our alternate location

1. Visit daol.aol.com/software/aoldesktop97alt/.

2. Click Download Now.

3. Click Run.

4. Click Run again.

Note: If you are using Windows Vista/7, click Continue.

5. If you are an existing AOL user, select Upgrade Existing Version and choose your previous version of the AOL Desktop software from the available drop-down menu. If you are a new AOL user, select Install New Version. Selecting Upgrade Existing Version will copy your existing mail and address book settings from a previous version of the AOL Desktop software. Once you've chosen an option, click Continue.

6. Select your preferred AOL Desktop 9.7 settings and click Continue.

7. Review your selected settings, choose your install location, review the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and then click Install Now.

Download and run the software in compatibility mode

1. Visit daol.aol.com/software/aoldesktop97alt/.

2. Click Download Now.

3. Click Save.

4. Select Desktop, and then click Save.

5. Find the AOL_Desktop_9.7.exe file on your desktop, right-click on the icon, and then click Properties.

6. Click the Compatibility tab.

7. Check the Run this program in compatibility mode (making sure Windows 95 is selected from the drop-down menu) and Run in 256 colors check boxes. Click Apply, and then click OK.

8. On your desktop, double-click the AOL_Desktop_9.7.exe icon.

9. Click Run.

Note: If you are using Windows Vista/7, click Continue.

10. If you are an existing AOL user, select Upgrade Existing Version and choose your previous version of the AOL Desktop software from the available drop-down menu. If you are a new AOL user, select Install New Version. Selecting Upgrade Existing Version will copy your existing mail and address book settings from a previous version of the AOL Desktop software. Once you've chosen an option, click Continue.

11. Select your preferred AOL Desktop 9.7 settings and click Continue.

12. Review your selected settings, choose your install location, review the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and then click Install Now.

BURN-YOUR-OWN-AOL-CD

You can create your own AOL CD, and then install AOL Desktop 9.7 from it. BURN-YOUR-OWN-AOL-CD provides instructions on how to download the AOL setup files to your computer and then burn them onto a CD or save them on a flash drive.

General Troubleshooting

AOL Desktop Software freezes while I’m online

If your computer or the AOL software freezes while you are online, try the solutions listed below to fix this issue. After trying the first solution, check whether you can stay online uninterrupted. However, if the issue persists, 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 instructions given in the online help article Determining your version of Microsoft Windows

Solutions


Check the system requirements

Computers that fail to meet the minimum system requirements for the AOL software may experience this issue. Open AOL System Information and check whether your computer meets the minimum system requirements of your AOL software. Read our online help article System requirements for AOL Desktop software to know the system requirements for AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5, AOL 9.1, all versions of AOL 9.0, and AOL Desktop v10.1.


Restart your computer and try again

Note: You may want to print this article before proceeding with this solution.

If you haven't recently restarted your computer or you don't restart your computer very often, we recommend that you restart your computer. This helps clear the internal memory (RAM), which often resolves many issues.


Clear browser cache

Are you able to access websites within the AOL software? If yes, skip to the Run Quick Restore solution. If no, ensure that you are connected to the Internet, and then try to access a website, preferably a site that you haven't been to before. If you are still unable to access websites, clearing the cache on your web browser should help fix the issue.


Rebuild AOL Adapter

AOL Adapter connects the AOL software to Internet Explorer. Any damage to the adapter can affect the AOL service and your access to the Web. You can fix the damage by rebuilding AOL Adapter.

The instructions to rebuild AOL Adapter may differ depending on the version of ACS installed on your computer. Please click the appropriate link from the ones given below for instructions on how to rebuild AOL Adapter.


Enable only essential startup programs

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.


Run WebUtil

WebUtil restores the system settings to resolve connection and browsing problems.

Please click the link corresponding to the version of ACS installed on your computer for instructions on how to run WebUtil.


Disable firewall

The firewall installed on your computer may be the cause of the issue that you are currently experiencing. Disabling the firewall may resolve the problem.

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Run virus scan

If you have antivirus software, please run it to scan your computer. If you have McAfee Internet Suite - Special Edition from AOL, read our online help article Full scan my computer for viruses using McAfee Internet Security Suite to know how to scan your computer using McAfee.


Use an alternate access phone number

Changing the AOL access phone numbers not only improves the speed of your connection but also resolves connectivity issues with the AOL software.

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 plan. Remember that members on certain plans may be charged an hourly rate for dial-up connections. See AOL Keyword: My Account for your price details.

For instructions on how to use an alternate access number, refer to our online help article Use an alternate access number.


Deactivate graphic compression

Graphic compression improves the time taken to download an image but deteriorates image quality. You can improve image quality by deactivating graphic compression, but the deactivation may increase the time taken to download images.

Note: You cannot deactivate graphic compression on AOL 9.5 and AOL 9.1.

Please click the link corresponding to the version of the AOL software installed on your computer for instructions on how to deactivate graphic compression.

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Lower hardware acceleration and set color depth to 16 bits

Hardware acceleration is the concept of enhancing the processing speed of a software application such as an advanced computer game or a graphics program. If the hardware acceleration of your Windows operating system has been changed or is set to high, you may have issues like the one you are currently experiencing. Lowering the hardware acceleration of your Windows operating system may help resolve this issue.

Click the link corresponding to the version of Windows installed on your computer to know how to lower the hardware acceleration.

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Run 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 will receive a series of AOL software updates.

Please click the link corresponding to the version of ACS installed on your computer for instructions to run Quick Restore.

Notes:
  • Please close the AOL software before running Quick Restore.
  • If you are using AOL Desktop v10.1, skip to the next solution. If you are using AOL 8.0 Plus or lower, go to Clear AOL Artwork Database.

Delete all connection locations and redetect the modem

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 for details regarding the charges applicable to your account.

Note: This keyword can be accessed only within the AOL software. However, if you are using AOL Desktop v10.1, please skip this solution.

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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Uninstall AOL Connectivity Services

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.

Operating System
ACS Version
Windows 8/7/VistaACS 4NANANA
Windows XPACS 4ACS 3ACS 2ACS 1
Windows 2000ACS 4ACS 3ACS 2ACS 1
Windows Me/98ACS 4ACS 3ACS 2ACS 1

Uninstall and reinstall the AOL software

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.


Download and install the latest Java Virtual Machine

Some programs require Java™ to function properly. If you have trouble accessing your websites, installing the latest Java Virtual Machine on your Windows operating system can help resolve this issue. Refer to our online help article for instructions on how to download and install the latest Java Virtual Machine in Internet Explorer.

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AOL Desktop Software freezes and shows 100% CPU usage

If your AOL software freezes and shows a 100% CPU usage in Task Manager, follow the solutions given below to resolve the issue. After trying the first solution, check whether you can start and use the AOL software. If you cannot start the AOL software, 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 Determining your version of Microsoft Windows

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 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 hav

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

Solutions


Disable the firewall

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 third-party firewall software.


Enable only essential startup programs

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 a 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 to know how to close all programs.

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Free up hard drive space

This problem may occur if the space on the hard drive is insufficient. You can free up space on your hard drive by emptying the recycle bin and uninstalling unwanted programs.

To free up hard drive space in Windows 7/Vista

1. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop, and then click Empty Recycle Bin.

2. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

3. Under Programs, click Uninstall a program.

  • If you are using Windows 7 and the View by is set to Large icons or Small icons, then click Programs and Features.
  • If you are using Windows Vista and the Control Panel is set to Classic View, then double-click Programs and Features.

4. Identify the program that you do not want, highlight it, and then click Uninstall or Uninstall/Change. Follow the on-screen prompts to uninstall the program.

To free up hard drive space in Windows XP/2000/Me/98

1. Right-click the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop, and then click Empty Recycle Bin.

2. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.

Note: If you are using Windows 2000/Me/98, click Start, select Settings, and then click Control Panel.

3. Double-click Add or Remove Programs, or Add/Remove Programs.

4. Identify the program that you do not want, highlight it, and then click Change/Remove, or Add/Remove. Follow the on-screen prompts to uninstall the program.


Run ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter

ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter are tools used for maintaining your computer's efficiency. These tools inform you about potential problems with your hard drive. ScanDisk scans the computer for infected files and fixes them to improve your computer's performance, and Disk Defragmenter maintains your computer by consolidating data and helps you find information efficiently.

The steps to run ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter on the hard drive may differ depending on the version of the Windows operating system on your computer. Please click the appropriate link given below:

For information on how to run Scandisk, read our online help article Run ScanDisk and Disk Defragmenter on your hard drive.


Clear Artwork Database

After an extended period of time, the amount of stored artwork on your computer can reduce the efficiency of the AOL software. You can delete the artwork by resetting the amount of space AOL uses to store online art.

Please click the link corresponding to the version of AOL installed on your computer for instructions on how to clear the AOL Artwork Database.

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Manually delete all AOL folders and reinstall the AOL software

Manually deleting the AOL folders will ensure that all AOL files and folders are removed from your computer. The instructions to delete the AOL folders may differ depending on the version of Windows installed on your computer. Please click the appropriate link given below to manually delete AOL folders.

To reinstall the AOL software, read the online help article Installing the AOL Desktop Software.

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Sign On screen is missing in AOL Desktop 9.7

Sometimes you may not be able to see the Sign On screen when you start your AOL Desktop software. Please attempt the solutions below in order to resolve this issue.

Before you start, you'll need to know the version of Microsoft Windows installed on your computer. If you're not sure, please see Determining your version of Microsoft Windows.

Select a solution below to view more information and the appropriate steps.

Reopen the Sign On screen

Someone may have accidentally closed your Sign On screen. No worries, though, because you can easily reopen it:

1. Start your AOL Desktop software as normal, but do not sign on.

2. From the menu bar, click Sign On, and then select Sign On Screen.

Note: If the Sign On screen is still not visible, click Window, and then select Cascade.

Run Quick Restore

IMPORTANT: Please close your AOL Desktop software before running Quick Restore.

Quick Restore allows you to reset your AOL Desktop software back to its default state by deleting any updates downloaded in the past. This helps resolve issues without requiring you 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.

The instructions on how to run Quick Restore are different; it depends on the version of ACS you have installed on your computer. Select your version of ACS below for more information:

Remove Viewpoint Media Player

If your Viewpoint Media Player is not working properly, it may prevent your Sign On screen from showing up. Uninstalling the Viewpoint Media Player may resolve the issue. Please click the appropriate link given below for instructions on uninstalling the media player.

Enable only essential startup programs

Your computer might have multiple programs that start automatically when your computer is turned on. These programs may cause your computer to slow down. Not all of these programs are essential for your computer to function properly. Please select your version of Microsoft Windows below for more information on disabling non-essential startup programs:

Reinstall your AOL Desktop software

If you've come this far and are still having issues, we recommend that you uninstall and reinstall your AOL Desktop software. This process will repair any damaged AOL Desktop software files.

Note: Uninstalling the AOL Desktop software removes all screen names and settings. Your Personal Filing Cabinet files will automatically be stored on the desktop in a folder named Saved on AOL.

For instructions on how to reinstall your AOL Desktop software, please see AOL Desktop Software 9.7: Installing and Uninstalling.

IMPORTANT: If you have saved your AOL password on the AOL Desktop software, please make sure you remember and write down your password before you uninstall or reinstall. Either of these processes will delete your saved password. If you don't remember your password, we recommend that you change your password before proceeding any further. For instructions on how to change your password or ASQ, refer to the following:

Why do I see the Welcome Screen before the Sign On screen?

If you're not seeing your Sign On screen when you log in to your AOL Desktop software, and instead you're going straight to the Welcome Screen, please see Why do I see the Welcome Screen before the Sign On screen? for more information.

AOL Desktop 9.7 toolbar is displaying incorrectly

If the AOL Desktop software toolbar is displaying incorrectly, follow the instructions below to resolve the issue.

Close and restart

If you haven’t already, close your AOL Desktop software, wait a few minutes, and then reopen it. Once you reopen it, please wait a few minutes to allow your AOL Desktop software to trigger an application cache update. This will update your local cache and fix the issue.

If you are still experiencing an error, continue to the next solution.

Sign on and wait (Dial-up users only)

If you’re experiencing this issue as a dial-up user, please ensure you are signed on properly and then wait 10 minutes. Updates to your application cache can only occur while you are connected to the internet.

If waiting does not resolve your issue, please continue to the next solution.

Run Quick Restore

Running the Quick Restore process will reset your application cache and clear any corruption. For instructions on how to run Quick Restore, please see Run Quick Restore when using ACS 4 or ACS 3. After you run Quick Restore and reopen your AOL Desktop software, it will display everything as if you’re running a fresh copy. But don’t worry, any customization settings will return when you reopen your AOL Desktop software again. 

Open the AOL Desktop software with the original application cache (advanced users only)

If you’re still having issues, you can open your AOL Desktop software using a special command, which will reset and clear corrupted files from your application cache. We only recommend this step for advanced users.

To open your AOL Desktop software with the original app cache, please follow the instructions below:

1. Click Start.

2. Select Run.

Note: If you're using Windows 8, on your keyboard, press Windows key+R.

3. In the Open field, enter the location of your AOL Desktop software with “-G” without quotes after it.

4. It should look something like C:\Program Files\AOL Desktop 9.7\waol.exe –G. Please see the screenshot below. If this location does not work, please try C:\Program Files\AOL Desktop 9.7 (x86)\waol.exe -G or try changing the directory to D:\ or E:\.

5. Click OK. Your AOL Desktop software will launch with the original application cache and clear any corrupted files.

Unable to view Desktop folder in Attach File window

When you're trying to attach a file to your email, and you're unable to view the Desktop folder in the Attach File window, please follow the instructions below to resolve your issue:

Note: This solution is primarily intended for users with AOL Desktop 9.7, on Windows Vista or Windows 7.

1. Within AOL Desktop, on the menu bar, click Write.

2. At the bottom of the new email, click Attach File.

3. On the left side of the Attach File window, right-click Favorites and select Restore Favorite Links.

Your Desktop folder should now be restored and available as an option.