Updated 11-24-16 to change recommended add-ons and browser tools to include McAfee’s Site Advisor instead of Web of Trust. Web of Trust is currently not available for use in most web browsers over data-selling and other issues that have recently come to light.
This may come as a surprise, but you’re not staying safe by using AOL. Every day you encounter possibly unsafe ads, phishers and Nigerian scams. AOL is not protecting you (or me) from such routine online dangers.
AOL Email is Unsafe
Clicking the Spam Button in AOL’s email doesn’t make scams or phishers go away – for every email you mark “Spam”, more spam arrives in its place. Anyone can get their bulk (and sometimes, spammy) email whitelisted by AOL because it’s not a matter of the sender having a good website or email for you to read; it’s a matter of them wanting to send out email in bulk. Whoever’s willing to do so can get whitelisted. And your GoodMail? Really not so good, if you’ll pardon my pun.
The most frequent questions I get are: “How do I find, save, and import my AOL email and Address Book?” I think the reason I keep getting such questions – in spite of my Email FAQS – is that this blog has lacked (until now) a quick overview of all your options.
I never needed to save or export AOL email when I was still a subscriber or even once I canceled AOL, so just thinking about answering these questions makes me nervous. That said, I’ll do my best to gather every possible answer here. This will probably be the last time I do this, so please, no more emails about AOL email….thanks. 🙂
Before you read this, it’s important to know that you don’t need AOL software or any software to get your AOL email. Once you cancel AOL and remove AOL from your computer, just sign in at http://aol.com/ to read and write your email. AOL mail is free and yours to keep, forever, even once you cancel AOL.
The web version of AOL mail does everything the desktop version does: it saves hard copies of email to your PC, it allows you to read and reply to your email using rich or plain text formats, and it stores an unlimited amount of your email.
Don’t forget to let me know what you use instead of AOL in the comments!
The question, “What do you use instead of AOL?” has been put to me from time to time. I never answer it, wanting to appear unbiased, but I always promise to discuss it someday, then I never do. But what I use instead of AOL has to be one of the easiest posts I can write, so without ado…
“How do you connect to the Web without AOL?”
I don’t know. How does anyone do that?
So you’re ready to make the big switch. You’ve set up an account with a new service provider so you won’t lose your Web connection, you’ve saved your AOL email, Favorites and AOL Address Book, and you want to call AOL soon to cancel your account.
In the meantime, you’re looking to get rid of AOL’s software and on the lookout for a way to get on the Web that’s fresh, fast, and fun. Maybe a friend or co-worker told you about Firefox and you’re intrigued. You should be. Nearly 25% of web users worldwide are devoted to Firefox, with it’s clean, simple look, exceptional speed, excellent pop-up controls, and awesome private browsing features. (Edit, 12-21-2009: Firefox 3.5 is now the most popular browser in the world.) This article will help you make the switch.
Before you read this, it’s important to know that you don’t need AOL software anymore to get your AOL email. Once you cancel AOL and remove AOL from your computer, just sign in at http://aol.com/ to read your mail online.
The online version of AOL mail does everything the offline version does: it saves hard copies of email to your PC, it allows you to read and reply to email using rich or plain text formats, and it stores an unlimited amount of email.
If you would like to use the AOL program on your computer despite this warning, read on…
Watch out, AOL users. If you see this in your inbox – like I did tonight – then you’ve got Phish. Symptoms of Phish are as follows:
- You have an irrepressible urge to click on real-looking links to AOL
- You think this phisher’s email is so convincing
- You can’t understand why the fine folks at AOL, a multi-billion dollar company, misspell words, mangle grammar and forget to punctuate
“Invasive AOL updates!”
A young lady from Los Angeles emailed me this week asking, “Are you familiar with these invasive AOL updates? Can you help me???”
I test AOL’s software for my blog, so the answer is, “Yes and yes”.
One nearly fool-proof method to make AOL’s forced updates stop is to delete the stick.dll file.
You can also delete the entire folder mentioned below – either method works on AOL 10.0 Desktop but not on AOL 9.0 VR, which I need to play around with a bit more. The full path to the file on a Windows PC should look something like this:
C:Program FilesCommon FilesAOL1144194954eeservicessoftwareUpdateve r1_13_8_3
On older versions of AOL like 9.0 VR you can try deleting anotify.exe, which might stop the white auto-update nag above the system tray but will not stop AOL from notifying you the old fashioned way that it wants to update – by covering your AOL window with a huge “now or later” nag with some buttons on it to click for “now” or “later”.
My reader goes on to tell me that she can’t stop using AOL dial-up because:
Software: AOL Email.
Replacement: POP Peeper.
Difficulty Level: Easy
For people who’ve never had any ISP (Internet Service Provider) except AOL, “How will I survive without them?” is a good question. POP Peeper can download your AOL email to your Desktop so you don’t have to sign into AOL for it. You can read and write messages directly from it. If you’re planning on canceling AOL and want to try this out, you should sign up with a new Internet service provider and install POP Peeper before you call AOL to cancel your account.
Send and receive AOL email from your free POP Peeper email client instead of logging into AOL.com or using AOL’s software. It’s no harder than typing in your AOL screen name, password, the name of AOL’s email server, and asking for SMTP Authentication just one time. Set it and forget it. On a scale of 1-10, this is just plain easy. Download POP Peeper here, then follow the steps below, which show you how I set up my AOL email address to work with POP Peeper.