AOL 9.0 SE, the product that uses 2 processes that can’t be shut down unless you use Hijack This or blow your computer up, is back on my computer again. I can’t get enough of how badly AOL screwed this up. My processor is three times as fast as the one I had when I started writing this blog in 2005, my hard drive is three times as large, and my computer has four times as much memory, yet AOL still slows it down; other programs crash and the computer is unusable for anything except surfing.
Firefox has crashed twice since I installed AOL 9.0 SE a few days ago. POP Peeper, which I’ve used for about a year to collect email, also crashed twice. Now I can count in seconds how long it takes to launch an Explorer Window. They opened so fast before I installed this version of AOL, there was no waiting.
Here I am. I’ve put AOL 9.0 SE on a clean install of XP, on a much more powerful computer than I’ve ever had before, and it’s still killing it.
On AOL’s new 9.0 VR Help page, they tell you not to upgrade to AOL 9.0 VR because both programs are “the same.” Look at this crap:
Also see How to Uninstall AOL.
After I ran tests a month or so ago, I concluded neither Mr. Tech’s AOL Cleaner nor the PC De-Crapifier do a good job of removing files, folders, and registry entries when they uninstall AOL, but I did my tests on a PC with 9.0, OpenRide, AOL’s Safety and Security Center and Security Monitor installed — more crap than either could handle, and didn’t test them until I’d already “uninstalled” AOL using AOL’s own uninstallers.
It hit me later that these tests weren’t good enough to base my results on, but neither cleaner did much better the second time around, so for the tech guys who deleted 2 podcasts about my uninstall and how-to cancel pages after I stopped recommending the PC De-Crapifier (update below), I’m hoping your site won’t be the last one to notice little ol’ mine.
08-30-2006: AOL’s free 9.0 software fell into the bad graces of stopbadware.org, according to this report, which lists every complaint I had with it. Will these issues stop new users, even at the newbie level, from using it? Yes, if they have any sense at all. It stopped me. I have more planned on this topic soon.
Free domain names? Think again.
08-08-2006: Starting in September AOL is giving out free domain names with free storage space and up to 100 email addresses compatible with Outlook Express and other clients. The only catch is you won’t own the domain name; it’s AOL’s forever. I’ll update as details become clearer.
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.
I didn’t mention it right off, but I had more problems getting AOL uninstalled from my computer last winter than I let on. In trying to get it done, I got a little neat-freak about it and edited my registry, too, first with Microsoft and other registry cleaners, then by hand, then both ways combined when I saw that neither way got every change AOL made. Then my computer crashed. So much for trying to clean up the registry. When I turned it back on after hours of erasing AOL keys, it would only boot to DOS.
I wrote this on December 13, 2005 as the follow-up to Why America Online can bite me, which I wrote on December 11, 2005, long after I canceled my last AOL account. The letter from the BBB that’s reprinted here is in response to my complaint that AOL wanted to charge me $50 for an “early cancellation.”
I got another free trial from AOL in the mail today, and an email from the BBB about AOL tonight. AOL sent so many discs they had to pack them in a box. I haven’t unwrapped this cool “Alumni Gift” yet but I’ll look at the discs soon just for fun. I wish I had a spare computer to wreck with their latest offerings just to remind myself how much AOL sucks. The “gift”-box is a monstrous 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ by 3/4″. Apparently it’s their Greatest Hits collection. There’s three big lies written across the front of it:
I wrote this on December 11, 2005, two months after I canceled my free trials of AOL.
AOL is running the biggest scam the world’s ever seen: thee ‘free’ 50-day trial. I got taken in by it back in August, 2005, when I spied free AOL discs on a magazine rack where I worked. I took a disc — several, actually — because my ISP was WalMart Connect, which is really AOL 2.SL0W.
With WMC I’d click a link, feed the cat, use the bathroom, and if I was lucky, the page would almost be done loading. In contrast, I popped AOL’s disc in, cooked dinner, and even redecorated my house while it installed. As if that wasn’t enough wasted time, the final screen connecting me to their server crashed so I had to start all over again. What should take 20 minutes took me over 3 hours: running an install disc.