How Do I Completely Uninstall AOL Instant Messenger?

Instant Messengers (IM) enable users to exchange messages with their online friends or colleagues in real time. In comparison to email, instant messaging makes the task of exchanging continuous to and from messages a lot easier. AOL instant messenger (AIM) is one of the most popular messengers that people use to send and receive instant messages. However, there may be some instances in which you may want to uninstall AOL instant messenger. For example, you may need to uninstall AIM if its installation has gone faulty causing system error, or perhaps, you may want to upgrade to a newer version, or maybe you just want to stop using it altogether. Let’s now see how to uninstall AIM from a Windows system.

How to Uninstall AOL Instant Messenger

There are many ways in which you can remove AIM from your computer. Let’s have a look at these methods.

Using AOL Uninstaller

To remove AIM using the AOL uninstaller, perform the following steps:

  1. From the Start menu, select Control Panel.
  2. Double-click on the Add or Remove Programs icon.
  3. Scroll through the Currently installed programs list and select the AOL Uninstaller option.
  4. Next, select the Change/Remove button.
  5. Select the AIM checkbox and then select the Uninstall button.
  6. Finally, select Yes to proceed and restart your PC when prompted.

Using Third-Party Uninstaller

AOL Instant Messenger adds many files and registry entries to your system. Many of these files and registry entries may remain in the registry even after you have performed uninstallation using the AOL Uninstaller. To take care of these problems, you can download and use third-party uninstallers to remove the program. These uninstallers are effective, easy-to-use, and will ensure a complete uninstall of the software.

Manually Uninstall AOL Instant Messenger

Manual removal of AIM mostly involves getting rid of unwanted registry entries. Therefore, you must be very careful with the set of instructions given in this section. Moreover, many of the entries mentioned here are added only after you have activated the messenger, so they might not be there if AIM is not yet activated. AIM gets activated by default, when you open and logon to it after installtion.

Note: You must not use the procedure mentioned here if you are an AOL user. Many of the steps mentioned here may affect the functionality of AOL.

Step 1: Prevent AIM from loading at startup.

If your AIM is activated, then first, change its settings to stop it from loading at system startup. For this, perform the following steps:

  1. Start AIM.
  2. Select the Settings button.
  3. On the General tab, clear the Start Netscape AIM checkbox.
  4. Select Apply, exit AIM, and restart your PC.

Step 2: Delete AIM files and folders.

Next, open Windows Explorer and delete the following files. (Here, we assume that AOL is installed in the default location.)

C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Netscape Communicator\AOL Instant Messenger (TM).lnk

C:\Program Files\Netscape\Users\Default\Launch.Aim

Finally, delete the following subfolder:

C:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\Program\

Step 2: Delete AIM registry entries.

To remove the registry files, open Registry Editor by running the Regedit command and then delete the entries given below:


Note: Remember to back up your registry before making any changes. Many of these entries might not be visible if you have not activated your AIM. Additionally, always remember to back up your registry before making any changes.

If you are unable to achieve complete uninstall using the automated methods and you are not confident on using the Registry Editor, then you may want to use a registry cleaner to remove the unwanted registry entries. You can easily download and install a registry cleaner utility on your computer from the Internet. Registry cleaners use advanced algorithms to scan the registry and weed out any entries left behind after the uninstallation of software such as AOL instant messenger.