Using AOL’s software is like giving your computer cancer. It uses hundreds of program files to change IE’s default settings, reconfigures your modem and dialer, installs Real Player and other unwanted programs, adds up to 1000 registry keys (sometimes more, depending on which version you use) and it sets itself as the default dialer so getting online with other dial-up ISPs is difficult, if not impossible.
AOL 9.0 SE keeps nine processes running at all times – even when you’re signed off. Other versions of AOL keep up to 5 processes running (including AOL 9.0 VR – which uses 4 processes to stay “always-on” and connected). AOL’s constant, intensive use of your computer’s resources slows it down and wears the hardware out before its time.
This page, Mr. Tech’s AOL Installer Overview, lists 13 programs that AOL installs and 5 AOL processes that run even when the software is not in use. It’s required reading if you want to know how AOL’s software works. This experts forum also has plenty of opinions on why you should stop using AOL and explains why it slows your computer down, so check it out.
One more thing: AOL’s software doesn’t let you surf the Web. Instead it connects your computer to a network of proxy servers that store cached copies of sites you’re “allowed” to see. Yes, some sites are actually forbidden to be seen by AOL’s subscribers! If you visit them but get a “404 Error” you might be seeing AOL’s site-block in action. So you “surf” AOL’s proxies, looking at day-old content and paying AOL as much as $25.90 a month for this so-called “privilege”. Even if you’re not paying for AOL, why continue to use it? See Info at AOL.com [PDF archive version] for more.
Now that you’ve had my crash course on why you should stop using AOL, you should uninstall it carefully to prevent copies of it from being left behind and data loss, which a sloppy uninstall is known for causing.
If you’ve used this page before and want to know why I don’t suggest certain removal products anymore, read this page.
You can also check out my how-to uninstall AOL guides if you’re ready.
Further Reading: Use my How-to Section to find every way under the sun to get AOL out of your life. Why America Online can bite me explains what I went through to cancel my AOL account and Pass me my coaster…I mean, my AOL disc is my follow-up to that story.