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Starting Out | Registration | Screen Names | Download & Installation | Service Connection | Passwords

Service Connection




Q: How do I sign on and start using the AOL Instant Messenger TM service after downloading and installing it on my computer?
A: Double-click the AOL Instant Messenger icon on your desktop to start the program. The Sign On window appears on your screen.

If you have already registered a screen name and password, highlight New User in the Screen Name field, type your screen name and password, and click Sign On.

If you have not registered a screen name and password, select New User, and click Sign On to register.

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Q: Why do I get the message, "No Internet connection detected" when I try to sign on to AIM using my AOL connection? (Windows only)
A: This occurs if you are using the 16-bit version of AOL to get online, which is intended for use in the Windows 3.1 operating system. All recent versions of AIM are 32-bit applications. In order to use a 32-bit Internet application such as AIM, you must have a 32-bit Internet connection as well.

To obtain the 32-bit version of AOL, sign on to AOL and go to Keyword: Upgrade. It is a free download (not including any telephone company charges). To find out whether you have the 16- or 32-bit version of AOL, select About AOL Canada from the Help menu. A screen appears, showing either "for Windows" or "for Windows 95/98." If it shows only "for Windows," then you have the 16-bit version of AOL.

The problem also occurs if your AOL screen name is designated as a Child, Young Teen, or Mature Teen. With these types of AOL screen names, you are not able to use any Internet software through your AOL connection. To change the status of an AOL screen name, you must sign on with the master screen name, and go to Keyword: ParentalControls.

Note: The AOL Instant Messenger TM service is intended for persons over 18 years of age.

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Q: When I sign on to AIM, why do I have to choose between my profile on the host and my profile on my PC?
A: This can have one of two causes:

  • The host has misplaced your profile, and it needs an updated copy from your computer.
  • If you've signed on to AIM from a different computer, the host notices a difference between the profile on the new computer and the profile that was sent to the host from the other computer. The host is confirming which profile you would like to use.
  • If you only use your AIM account on one computer, downloading the latest version of AIM should prevent this problem from occurring.

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Q: Why am I unable to sign on with all of my registered AIM screen names? With the same copy of AIM, I can sign on with only one of my two screen names.
A: Wait about an hour, and try signing on again with the screen name that is experiencing the problem.

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Q: Why am I unable to sign on to AIM using my AOL modem connection?
A: This occurs if your AOL screen name is designated as a Child, Young Teen, or Mature Teen. With these types of AOL screen names, you won't be able to use any Internet software through your AOL connection. To change the status of an AOL screen name, you must sign on with the master screen name and go to Keyword: ParentalControls.

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Q: What should I do when I lose my connection to the server and AIM displays the message, "Internet Connection Lost-check connection?"
A: This is probably just a temporary communication problem between your modem and your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Your ISP is able to keep its connection, but AIM gets disconnected. (In many cases, you won't see noticeable symptoms in your other Internet applications, such as your Web browser, but AIM requires a constant uninterrupted connection.)

You should sign on to AIM again. If you are frequently disconnected, it may help to change the access number you use to connect to your ISP.

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Q: Why am I unable to connect to AIM through my company LAN? In the past, I made the connection with no problem.
A: Ask your system administrator to update login.oscar.aol.com on the LAN's DNS table. Also, ask the administrator to make sure that Port 5190 is open for outbound TCP connections. (Other ports can also be used. If your administrator decides on a different port, then you can specify it in Connection preferences.)

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Q: How do I stop AIM from starting automatically when I start my computer?
A: Windows: Select the File menu, click Options, and click Edit Preferences. Click the General tab, and uncheck Start AIM when Windows starts.

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Q: Why does my AIM application crash when I sign off or sometimes when Windows starts? (Windows only)
A: To fix this problem, download the latest version of AIM.

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Q: How can I troubleshoot my connection problems?
A: The following can help you to troubleshoot your connection problems:

  • Make sure that your other Internet applications (such as your Web browser) are working.
  • If AOL is providing your Internet connection, make sure that you are not signed on with a Teen or Young Kids account. These types of accounts are blocked from using Internet software such as external Web browsers and AIM.
  • If AOL is providing your Internet connection and you are a Windows user, make sure that you have the 32-bit version of AOL. You can check this by going to the Help menu in AOL and choosing "About AOL Canada." If it doesn't say "32-bit" then you need to get the 32-bit version by going to Keyword: Upgrade.
  • Go into Connection Preferences in AIM, and make sure that all of the settings are correct:

    1. You should only have a proxy server enabled if you are on a network and you have been told to use a proxy server by your system administrator. (Check with the system administrator if you are not sure.)

    2. Click Auto Configure if you are using the Windows version of AIM.
  • If you have more than one screen name, see if the other screen name can sign on.
  • Try using a different access number with your ISP, even if you've been using your current access number for a long time. This really does make a big difference in many cases. If the new access number gives you better results, you should report the problem with the old number to your ISP.
  • Wait an hour or so and try to connect again. If you still can't connect and you were able to connect before, then there may be a problem on the AIM host computers. Let us know by completing a bug report.

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Q: How do I stop AIM from keeping my Internet connection active?
A: You must modify a registry key using the Windows Registry Editor program.

WARNING: You can cause Windows to stop functioning if you make a mistake in the Registry Editor program. If you need assistance, find someone who is familiar with the program to help you. AOL cannot be responsible for any damage you do to your computer.

To modify the registry key, follow these steps:

  1. Exit AIM.
  2. From the Start menu, launch regedit from the Run dialog box.
  3. Browse to the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\America Online\AOL Instant Messenger (TM)\CurrentVersion\Misc
  4. On the right side of the screen, double-click on KeepAlive. An "Edit DWORD Value" dialog will appear.
  5. Change the content of the "Value data" field to 0 (zero).
  6. Click on OK.
  7. Exit the Registry Editor.

You're done. Now AIM will no longer attempt to automatically keep your Internet connection active.

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