Many of our customers use AOL Desktop. While we do not recommend AOL Desktop we do provide support when there are issues (all the time!). This blog post was written to objectively explain why you should stay away from AOL Desktop.

Aggressive Advertising

AOL is free because you are the product, sold to advertisers.

Thanks for logging in. Here's an ad.
Thanks for logging in. Here’s an ad.
And another.
And another.

Misleading Ads

Fix it now ad from AOL
Fix what? This computer is brand new.

Clicking on the link will download a program called System Mechanic. Let’s look at the amazing utility that will fix all your problems:

System Mechanic reviews from Amazon
System Mechanic has a bad reputation for not actually doing anything.

SUPERAntiSpyware is another computer utility that AOL is affiliated with. AOL offers SUPERAntiSpyware for $4/mo ($48/yr).

AOL offers Super Antispyware, free software, for $4/mo.
AOL offers SUPERAntispyware.

However if you go to the actual SUPERAntiSpyware website, you can download it for nothing.

Super Antispyware free offer
The Free Edition is sufficient for most home users.

The Professional version is still only $20, compared to the $48/yr AOL wants to rope you for. What many users don’t realize is SUPERAntiSpyware isn’t a substitute for antivirus. You still need antivirus.

Super Antispyware discount offer
Even the paid version is only $20. One time payment.

Limited Display Options

The tiny menu text and small icons cannot be changed by system settings.
The tiny menu text and small icons cannot be changed by system settings.

The AOL interface is very user-unfriendly. The menu text is tiny and is not changed by system settings as they should.

Small Icons

Icons aren’t affected by Windows settings. The only way to increase the size of anything in AOL Desktop is to decrease your screen resolution.

Options That Don’t Work

Don't waste your time.
Don’t waste your time.

Do you want your mail to open to full screen when you click “Read”? Do you want your browser window to be a certain size when you open a new one? Forget about it. “Remember Window Size and Position” stops working after you log off.

Resource Hog

Why are 7 AOL processes running with no windows open?
Why are 7 AOL processes running while there are no windows open?

AOL takes up more system resources than other web browsers (which arguably perform better). It could be to load all the ads it has to bombard you with.

Runs in Background

Why does AOL need to run when the computer starts?
Why does AOL need to run when the computer starts?

Computer load times improve after AOL Desktop is uninstalled. AOL runs in the background at when you turn on your computer, and continues to run even if you never clicked on it.

AOL Desktop Alternatives

This article wasn’t written to convince you to leave AOL. It was only to convince you to stop using their unfriendly mail client/web browser, AOL Desktop. There are ways to access AOL mail without using AOL Desktop.

AOL Webmail

Access your AOL mail from any device.
Access your AOL mail from any device.

Their email service doesn’t require AOL desktop. Simply visit to access the same mail.

Mail Clients

The WIndows 10 Mail app
The Windows 10 Mail app

Mail clients are programs that are made specifically for sending and receiving mail.

  • Windows 10 Mail comes with Windows 10 computers.
  • Windows Live Mail came with some Windows 7 computers, but can be downloaded to any Windows version, free, here.
  • The OS X Mail app comes preloaded on all Macs.
  • AOL is compatible with smartphones and tablets that have Mail apps.

Regardless of what you use, all you have to do is add your email account by entering your AOL email address and password.

Do you have questions or comments about AOL Desktop? Share them below! 

Published by Kamryn

I.T. Consultant & digital wizard