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How to Uninstall AIM

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Filed under: PC Maintenance, Uninstall 

uninstall aolAOL Instant Messenger (AIM) allows its users to exchange messages with other people who are online at the same time. Since this happens in real time, it is often quicker and more convenient than using email. It is a very popular messaging application and is widely used by members of the AOL community.

Why You Might Want to Uninstall AIM

Although AOL Instant Messenger is in common use, there are alternatives about, such as MSN Messenger. You may, therefore, want to stop using AIM, may be having problems with it or want to upgrade to a new version.

There have in the past been security issues with AIM that have caused people to uninstall it. These reported weaknesses have allowed worms and other malware to run and these have infected the user’s PC. All that was required for hackers to gain access was for the user to be logged on and accepting messages, which, given the nature of the application, they usually were. Patches and fixes have been developed to overcome these problems but doubts have remained and caused users to uninstall AIM and use other messaging applications instead.

How to Uninstall AIM

The normal way to uninstall AIM is the conventional manner using the AIM uninstaller. To do this, at the Control Panel, select Programs and Features or Add or Remove Programs (depending on your operating system version). You will see a list of programs that are currently installed on your PC. Find and select the AOL Uninstaller and click the Change/Remove or Uninstall button. Tick the AIM box and choose to uninstall. This should eventually confirm that AIM has been successfully removed. Restart your PC if prompted to do so.

One problem with the standard uninstaller, and not just for AIM, is that it doesn’t always fully uninstall. It may leave some system files and not clear all the registry entries. An alternative method may be to use a third party uninstaller that may do a more complete job. However, be sure to check the reviews before you use one since some are better than others.

To ensure a complete removal of AIM, you can remove any remaining files and registry entries manually. However, always create a system restore point before you start so that, if necessary, you can get back to a working version.

To clear any remaining AIM files and folders, open the Windows Explorer and check for the following folders and files (assuming they have been installed to the default locations):

C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Netscape Communicator\AOL Instant Messenger (TM).link

C:\Program Files\Netscape\Users\Default\Launch.aim

C:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\Program\

If the files and folders are still there, delete them.

To remove any remaining entries, select Run at the Start menu and type ‘regedit’ then click OK. In general, the entries you want to delete have HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE keys and will contain aim within their entry.

If you are wary of using the Registry Editor, as many people understandably are, you may want to use a professional registry cleaner. This should remove non-required entries automatically but, again, check the reviews first and only use a highly rated application.

You can also try to remove it with SecureUninstaller…
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