This how-to is for people who get an error message when they try to remove AOL from Vista. If you are not getting the error messages mentioned in this post, please see How to Remove AOL (any version).
So you’re an ex-AOL user who’s moved on from Windows XP to Windows Vista. You put AOL software on your new Vista computer or added it to a new Vista install on your old computer back when you still paid for AOL.
Now it’s days, months, or years later, you’ve finally canceled AOL, and you no longer want to keep AOL installed, even if you can still use it for free, but you can’t get rid of it no matter what you do.
Republished 12-30-08. Last updated 12-03-09.
If you are getting error messages when you try to remove AOL from Vista, please see this post, or see this post for error messages on Windows 7. If AOL won’t shut down before you remove it, or if keeps running after you remove it, see this FAQ.
Note: This tutorial will also help you remove AOL OpenRide, AOL Desktop Search and AOL Explorer 1.5. Unfortunately, I can’t fit that many versions of AOL into the title of this post, or into the sidebar.
When I use Vista I pull my hair out. Why, you may ask? Because using Vista is just like using XP (except much slower) – until you try to delete something. Then it acts more like Fort Knox than an operating system. Gaining complete control over Vista isn’t easy. This post aims to get you over that hurdle.
I’ve added this post for people leaving AOL because some of you use Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. Deleting AOL’s leftover files and folders can’t be done on these systems without learning a few special tricks. As usual, take these steps at your own risk. If you have a question, you can leave a comment or email me.
Last updated 3-11-09.
Issue: You want to remove AOL, but you’re missing the AOL Uninstaller.
Solution: Remove AOL without it.
Difficulty Level: Easy
So you want to remove AOL from your Windows PC but when you check Add/Remove programs you’re missing the AOL Uninstaller (or the entry for “AOL Choose Which Version to Remove”).
What to do? This is one of the most frequently asked questions about removing AOL. What follows is a pretty simple way to remove AOL that doesn’t harm your computer. Whether you’re a tech who’s looking for the easiest way to get AOL off of your customer’s computers, or a beginner who can’t get AOL off of your PC, this page is for you.
I tested this method on AOL 9.0 SE, AOL 9.0 Optimized, AOL 9.0 VR, AOL 9.1 GM (the first public release of 9.1), AOL 9.1, and AOL Desktop on both Windows XP and Windows Vista. This method works well on both operating systems. See this tutorial if you’re an XP user.