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Problems with AOL 7.0 on Windows 95

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#1
Bracamonte

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So I installed America Online 7.0 (the last desktop version for Windows 95) on my Win95 computer. It worked nicely. However today, when I log into AOL, it hangs for a few minutes and the welcome screen appears, but I get a message saying "AOL has detected an error with your connection to the internet. Please exit the AOL software, restart your computer, and then sign on again." Though I can access my emails, I cannot use the internet on it. I restarted it lots of times, even reinstalling it, and I get the same result. Does anyone know what the problem is?

Edited by Bracamonte, 06 January 2013 - 02:10 PM.



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#2
coolman

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So I installed America Online 7.0 (the last desktop version for Windows 95) on my Win95 computer. It worked nicely. However today, when I log into AOL, it hangs for a few minutes and the welcome screen appears, but I get a message saying "AOL has detected an error with your connection to the internet. Please exit the AOL software, restart your computer, and then sign on again." Though I can access my emails, I cannot use the internet on it. I restarted it lots of times, even reinstalling it, and I get the same result. Does anyone know what the problem is?

Hello,
The first thing I would recommend is to try doing a virus scan with an Antivirus program. You may have gotten a virus that is interfering with your Internet Connection. If that doesn't work, try everything below:
Are you able to access the internet by just running standalone Internet Explorer? If that does not work check your Internet Options by going to Tools>Internet Options>Connections Tab. Make sure your connection settings are correct and "Automatically Detect Settings" in LAN Settings if you are using a LAN connection and click Setup to setup a new Internet Connection to make a new Dial-Up or LAN connection. If you access the internet through a proxy server, be sure to enter the correct settings for that. Otherwise click "Automatically Detect Settings". If that doesn't work, make sure connections to secure sites can be made by enabling SSL 2.0, SSL 3.0, and TLS 1.0 in the Advanced Tab in Internet Options. If not try a different browser and see if that works. If it still doesn't work check your Internet to make sure everything is connected properly. Check all cables to see if they are connected properly, and make sure everything is plugged in (Cables, Modem, Router etc.). If it still doesn't work contact your ISP.

Edited by coolman, 06 January 2013 - 06:30 PM.

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#3
Bracamonte

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The internet is all fine. Its just AOL that I'm having issues with.

Edited by Bracamonte, 06 January 2013 - 07:20 PM.


#4
Nomen

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Why do you even need to run any software to access the internet - or your AOL e-mail? Is this dial-up or DSL?

(I've never understood how AOL works, or why anyone would still be using them...)

#5
Bracamonte

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DSL. I run it for easier access to email.

#6
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Why do you even need to run any software to access the internet - or your AOL e-mail? Is this dial-up or DSL?

(I've never understood how AOL works, or why anyone would still be using them...)


AOL software can now be used as an AOL email client by making sure the "connection" stuff is pacified and attempts none of the automatic network configuration ( BTW, which MSIE also does when they throw up that stupid page "Internet Explorer cannot display ..." and the poor victim presses "Diagnose" and scuttles his current Network configuration. NB: that page displays if the router is off or cable unplugged. Doh! ).

Anyway, I suggest the OP have the location set to "BROADBAND" and doublecheck the settings for "BROADBAND" and disable any AOL program or service that is in any Windows AutoRun startup locations. They are not needed and can cause issues.

I still use the AOL email client 9.7 on WinXP+ since it is now an excellent client-only interface for mail and saves stuff locally and has other advantages over webmail. It is free also in this client-only mode when it is no longer your actual connection ISP.

Version 7 was the last good one for Win9x, but version 8 actually did work also. NOTE: there is a lot of registry use in those versions, and if you are on Win95 ( and/or have small amount of memory, and/or slow CPU, etc ) there is the possibility that you can't run it reliably anyway. If your on Win98se with 512 MB it can definitely work but it definitely taxes resources, and these requirements go up if you have a large AOL screename profile with lots of mail. Some screename files for me are over 1 GB and I think they are read straight into memory and/or swapfile when AOL loads and closes.

I didn't know that Win95 ( Windows 4.0 ) could run AOL 7. I remember using AOL 3, 4, 5, and maybe 6 at the latest.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#7
Nomen

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AOL software can now be used as an AOL email client by making sure the "connection" stuff is pacified and attempts none of the automatic network configuration ...

I still use the AOL email client 9.7 on WinXP+ since it is now an excellent client-only interface for mail and saves stuff locally and has other advantages over webmail. It is free also in this client-only mode when it is no longer your actual connection ISP.

How does a DSL modem connect to AOL? PPPoE? DHCP?

Regardless - why wouldn't it be more ergonomic and straightforward to just have your router perform the dsl login into AOL (just like you'd do for any other DSL ISP) ???

And regarding AOL e-mail -> do you need special software to access AOL's e-mail server, or can any standard SMTP e-mail client be used? (Is there really anything better than the old Netscape Communicator 4.8 for e-mail / usenet?)

#8
CharlotteTheHarlot

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(1) How does a DSL modem connect to AOL? PPPoE? DHCP?

(2) Regardless - why wouldn't it be more ergonomic and straightforward to just have your router perform the dsl login into AOL (just like you'd do for any other DSL ISP) ???

(3) And regarding AOL e-mail -> do you need special software to access AOL's e-mail server, or can any standard SMTP e-mail client be used? (Is there really anything better than the old Netscape Communicator 4.8 for e-mail / usenet?)

First, so we're clear, we're talking about the AOL Software here, i.e., AOL 7 or 8 or 9 which I know work with broadband. The earlier ones may also have but I cannot remember and in those versions most people used AOL as their ISP.

(1) Your modem ( DSL, Cable, Fiber ) does not connect to AOL, The AOL software uses the existing configured Windows TCP/IP connection. Far more importantly, if you are on broadband ( DSL, Cable, Fiber ) you should have a router in between that modem and the computer. If your computer is directly jacked into the modem with ethernet you are asking for trouble. In case that describes you ( or others reading this ), forget AOL for the moment and get a router and properly configure it ( research the exact model and spend some time reading forums discussing the exact model ). Modem <-> Router <-> Computer. After the Router is working and you fire up some web browser like Opera or Firefox, make sure that web is working fine ( this means your TCP/IP is good to go ). Only then, install AOL ( the software ) and it will see the working connection and automatically configure the few things it does. It is not like the old days with AOL as an ISP, where they needed to install an "adapter", essentially another network, and another layer of complexity. ADDED: when you are setting up the router from your computer which is connected by ethernet cable ( done by entering a URL into your web browser like 192.168.1.1 ) there will be a main page with SETUP and usually there is a drop-down list of "Connection Types", of which one should be "Automatic". DSL may be different, but on our Cable the automatic goes to DHCP. There are half a dozen others including PPPoE. Try Automatic, or see what your DSL ISP says in their literature. It is very simple. The main point is that this question you asked has NOTHING to do with AOL or web browsers. It has to do with how the router uses the provided broadband signal. Once the router is all configured, none of these details will be needed for the Web or AOL or Windows or anything else because everything behind the router ( computers, laptops, phones, tablets ) communicates with the router and not the internet directly. Almost all software will be talking TCP/IP, but some special programs or functions like Torrent clients might require you to jump back into the router page and open ports and other things. 99% of the time you have nothing at all to do though.

(2) No. Just so we're clear, going to websites through a NAT router should only be an abstraction. The purpose is avoiding end-to-end communication entirely. You are talking to your router, it is talking to the internet, the router makes the thing seamless by getting the right IP addresses inbound and outbound. It is a hardware firewall. "Ergonomic and Straightforward" in this situation is a bad idea. That is unless you are using AOL as an ISP, like many people used to do. But that cannot describe you since you say you have DSL. That provider ( Verizon? ) is your ISP.

(3) No. AOL email has been free for a long time now. Anyone ( in fact most ) simply use their @aol.com email addresses through their web browser by going to Aol.com and signing in with their password just like on any other site. All the protocols are in use ( POP3, IMAP, etc ) last I checked, but it is not necessary to know this for any major web browser, the more obscure ones might need manual configuration and for those you just Google for the details ( but I have never seen it need to be done since the "Broadband" era ). The AOL software package ( now 9.7 I think, with a version 10 for cloud ) is only because of personal preference for the mail management, contacts, address books, IM and all the proprietary stuff we are used to. It also is probably a bit more secure than web browsers because they are constantly hacked and it would be easier for bad guys to get the mail and passwords from the registry or browser folders than from the AOL screename files. But that last part is more my own opinion.

Note what I described above, setup a Router, test Web browsers, if all is okay install AOL Software. No configuration is necessary. AOL does not know or care who your ISP is or even how you are connected. It does not see Cable/FIOS/DSL, it sees "Broadband". Likewise, your ISP ( Verizon, etc ) does not know or care about AOL.

How it works for me is I can use web browsers all day long. If I want to look at AOL mail I fire up the AOL software, click "sign in" and it simply connects instantly using TCP/IP just like any web browser might. The difference is that you are within the confines of an AOL Window ( with all the traditional AOL accoutrements ) rather than the other way using a browser, where you would be doing your mail within a webpage in a Firefox or Opera tab.

Finally, if someone is using the AOL Software ( not the AOL website ), and clicks a link or types a URL, they should be aware that AOL still uses Internet Explorer as its browser even though it is disguised as AOL Browser. So I never do any internet within the AOL Software window. Many of the complaints about AOL can be traced to the fact that they were actually using MSIE.

P.S. I doubt there are people here that this describes, but if you are still paying that AOL monthly bill, it is unnecessary! That is, unless you use AOL as an ISP, and the only way that could be true is if you are using dial-up. There are some who stopped using dial-up and switched to their broadband connection. AOL doesn't just stop billing you! You need to manually go into the billing preferences and change it to free. If this applies to you let me know and I can show you how to stop paying them for doing nothing! This is for real, no joke. When AOL became free, anyone who didn't use them as an ISP any longer still get billed as if they were.

EDIT: added stuff

Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 08 January 2013 - 09:18 AM.

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#9
CharlotteTheHarlot

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I just wanted to add a couple of other things in addition above stuff about AOL and Routers and Modems.

Modem Disc :: When you get a package deal that has Broadband + Phone + TV ( be it Cable or FIOS Fiber or DSL ) or even if you just get the Broadband by itself, they often include a CDROM with a setup program. In all situations I have seen, this disc is not necessary. Primarily it sets up Wi-Fi settings ( if it is a combination Router+Modem like FIOS ) and hijacks your homepage to the ISP website, install an application or links to your ISP for checking mail and billing and of course spamming you with purchase opportunities. Maybe years ago when Wi-Fi was new and most people did not have a separate router it might have been necessary for a single computer plugged directly into the modem ( not a good idea ) and it likely installed a firewall or made some changes to the Windows firewall and network settings. I obviously cannot speak for the whole world, but I can suggest that at first you completely ignore this disc and proceed as above. Assume the Internet broadband feed is ready-to-go and skip to installing a router right between modem and the computer(s).

Router Disc :: Likewise, most routers also include a setup CDROM as well. Obviously this has nothing at all to do with your ISP or the Cable/DSL/Fiber modem. It is there to do one thing, make it easy for the non-techie person to configure the router. Don't let it do that. Take a few minutes to learn about it, find a forum thread that details the specific model and learn the basics. The problem with auto-configuration of routers is that they, like Windows 8 are designed for lay people. What happens is that it might default to WEP for simple Wi-Fi security and will almost always program a weak passphrase like groups of digits separated by hyphens. It will probably broadcast the default SSID ( Netgear xxx ), and probably leave the default router password ( also bad ), and make a few other lowest common denominator choices. It is much better if you simply learn the basics and do that stuff yourself so you can harden your security. This is done from your computer jacked into a router ethernet port, in your web browser after typing a URL like 192.168.1.1

Again, I cannot speak for all the combinations of equipment and providers that are out there. But my suggestion is to physically hook it up as mentioned ... Modem <-> Router <-> Computer(s) ... Avoiding the setup discs ( at least at first ) and immediately program the router from your browser. When it is done, test other remote webpages in the browser which will verify that TCP/IP is good. For the OP asking about AOL, it is at this point after everything else is working that he can either install AOL Software, or just use the web version from his browser.

A lot of people ( in my area with our common arrangements ) get confused during setup because they believe they need to use the Modem disc to enable or unlock their Internet service or that they need to enter some magic number from the computer to begin their subscription. The way it has actually worked for at least a decade in these parts is that the Modem itself is the key and it is unlocked when they issue it and install it. They ( the ISP ) have all the addressable numbers from the box, the MACs and whatever, and when they are there first setting it up you will see them make a phone call and someone remotely "turns it all on". The end-user has very little to do, and most of it is only configuring their router which they normally purchased earlier.

Some pictures from Google Images that illustrate this basic idea ...

Spoiler

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#10
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Here is an article that merits bumping this thread ...

AOL dial-up users account for 70% of profit, posts first gains in 8 years ( TechSpot 2013-02-08 )

It describes AOL as still bringing in big bucks from billing customers for ISP access. In it, they reference a two-year old story called 60% of AOL's profits come from misinformed customers. The point mirrors what I mentioned above, AOL used to be an ISP, supplying ad hoc internet access to users using dial-up. Many of these users eventually got broadband from Cable or Fiber or DSL or even Satellite. But AOL still sends their monthly bill ( or charges their credit card ) for ISP services that they no longer perform. Unless the AOL member purposely goes into the "billing information" and changes their plan to "Free" the billing continues even if they never use dial-up again. It is hard to believe but they are still raking in dough from many suckers and apparently governmental institutions are too busy to put a stop to it.

If you do not use AOL as your ISP via dial-up, then you should change your "plan" to free. At which point you are only using AOL as an email host. That expense is paid for from the ads they push into the email client ( or web browser ).

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...





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