IMPORTANT: If you have a free account with AOL and you haven't accessed your mailbox in the last 120 days, any email associated with that Username will be deleted per AOL's Terms of Service. Next time you login to your mailbox, you'll have a new, clean mailbox ready to use. We apologize for any inconvenience.
If you have a paid account or you frequently access your emails, don't worry: Your email experience will remain unchanged. Follow the instructions below to resolve the issue.
Information you need
You'll need to know the version of Microsoft Windows operating system installed on your computer. If you do not know how to find this information, please visit our help article How do I determine the version of Windows I have.
You'll also need to know the version of the AOL software that you're using. Our help article Determine whether I have the latest AOL software installed has instructions on how to check the version of the AOL software that you have.
- Ensure that the mailbox filter is set to Everyone
- Verify whether the computer meets the system requirements of the AOL software
- Restart the AOL software, and then reconnect
- Run Quick Restore
- Compact your Personal Filing Cabinet
- Uninstall and then reinstall the AOL software
- Remove the PFC file for the affected Username
This is applicable only to AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5, AOL 9.1, and all versions of AOL 9.0 software.
To ensure that the mailbox filter is set to Everyone
1. Sign on to the AOL software.
2. On the AOL toolbar, click the Read icon.
3. Click the Show me mail from drop-down menu, and then click Everyone.
You might encounter this issue if your computer doesn't meet the minimum system requirements. To check
You may receive this message if your computer does not meet the minimum system requirements for the AOL software installed on your computer. Please check whether your computer meets the system requirements of the AOL software.
If you are using AOL Desktop v10.1
1. On the upper right of AOL Desktop v10.1, click the Sign Out link, and then click Sign Out.
2. On the upper right of AOL Desktop v10.1, click X.
3. Start AOL Desktop v10.1 as you normally would, and then sign on.
If you are using AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5, AOL 9.1, any version of AOL 9.0, or AOL 8.0
1. Click the Sign Off menu, and then click Sign Off.
2. Click the File menu, and then click Exit.
3. Start the AOL software as you normally would, and then sign on.
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, skip to the next solution.
The email messages in your Personal Filing Cabinet may not have been stored properly, making it difficult for the AOL Software to read them. Compacting your PFC regroups the email messages and makes your PFC readable again. The instructions to compact your PFC are given in the help article How do I compact my Personal Filing Cabinet?
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. Once the uninstallation is complete, reinstalling a new copy of the AOL software is quick and easy. Please note that uninstalling the AOL software removes all Usernames and settings associated with it. However, your 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 software, ensure that you remember your password before you uninstall the AOL software 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 any further. 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 to it. For instructions on how to change your password or ASQ, refer to the following online help articles:
- How do I change my password?
- I forgot my AOL Password
- I forgot the answer to my Account Security Question
Please click the link corresponding to the version of Windows on your computer for instructions to uninstall the AOL software.
Note: If you are unable to uninstall the AOL software, refer to our online help article Can't uninstall the AOL software.
The PFC file may be permanently corrupted and has to be removed from its default location for your mailbox to display correctly.
To move the PFC file to the desktop
1. Close the AOL software.
2. Click Start, click All Programs or Programs, click AOL, and then click AOL System Information.
Note: If you are unable to access AOL System Information, go to the help article Open Data Folder for instructions on how to manually open the Data Folder. Once done, click the Back button in the help article to return to this article, and then continue from step 4.
3. Open the Data folder:
- If you are using AOL 9.6, AOL 9.5, AOL 9.1, or AOL 9.0VR, click the AOL Software tab, and then click Open Data Folder.
- If you are using AOL 9.0 Optimized, click Data Folder.
- If you are using AOL 8.0 plus or earlier versions, click Folder.
4. Right-click the Username file that has no extension, and then click Cut.
5. On the upper right, click X to close the Organize window.
6. Click Close or X to close the AOL System Information window.
7. Right-click on your desktop, and then click Paste.
8. Start the AOL software as you normally would.
Note: Ensure that you do not sign on to the AOL software.
9. Click the File menu, and then click Open.
10. Locate the "[screenname].pfc" file located on your Desktop, and then click Open to access your old PFC file.
Note: You will have to repeat steps 7 to 9 every time you want to access your old PFC file.