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Andrew T.

AOL Instant Messenger 4.8 no longer connects

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Andrew T.    4

A few weeks ago, this pop-up from the "AOL System Msg" started to appear when logging into AOL Instant Messenger using client version 4.8; the last one that didn't require Internet Explorer and worked on Windows 95:

"Hello. The version of AIM you’re using is going away as of November 30th. To continue using AIM, please download the latest version here."

I initially called bluff on this, since AOL had pulled stunts like this a few times before. Today, however, it finally happened: AIM 4.8 will no longer connect to the service.

Now, I'm not going to say that this is of much practical significance. The AIM network is practically a ghost town these days, and I all but ceased using it three years ago simply because none but one of my acquaintances ever use the service anymore. If I'm surprised about anything, it's the fact that AOL still exists at all! Still, I'm a bit miffed: AIM worked so well for so long, it needed a lot less overhead than whatever passes for online chat today (Skype? SMS texting on smartphones? Having a Facebook window open 24/7?), and I'm sad to see one more relic of the Win95 age slip away.

I also suspect that this incompatibility is artificial. If AOL had truly changed its protocol, I would expect AIM 4.8 to time out altogether instead of connecting and throwing me off. As it stands, the client will verify the login, "Starting Services" will appear, and the buddy-list window loads for a split-second...before I'm logged out again and have an AIM message from "AOL System Msg" thrown in my face. I assume that to connect, the server does a "handshake" with data in the client's "proto.ocm" file. Would it be possible to hack this to spoof a more recent version and get 'ole 4.8 working again?

(Incidentally, AIM's ICQ 2002a cousin still works and connects; though I never knew anyone who used ICQ to chat in the first place.)

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rloew    90

The same thing happended with AOL 5.0 a while back. Same symptoms. It appears they routed me to a server that ran the old protocol just long enough to login, post the message and logout.

I tried freezing the client to keep the connection open but was disconnected anyway.

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Drugwash    60

I just connected to AIM using an older version of Miranda IM (0.10.15.0) on 98SE. Not sure if it still works in Win95 but it's worth a check.

Possibly an even older (in the 0.9 or 0.8 version series) might work. I lost contact with the development years ago so can't tell anything for sure.

Links for executables and sources:

version 0.7.19,
versions 0.8.0 to 0.8.27,
versions 0.9.0 to 0.9.52,
versions 0.10.0 to 0.10.14:

http://code.google.com/p/miranda/downloads/list?can=1&q=

versions 0.10.15 to 0.10.24:
http://files.miranda-im.org/stable/

versions 0.10.24 to 0.10.39:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/miranda/files/miranda-im/

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sdfox7    157

I think AOL is discontinuing some of their Windows 9x-only programs.

Earlier this year, I received the below image when signing into AOL 3.0 and 4.0 16-bit. I screenshot it for historical purposes. You can no longer sign into AOL 3.0 and 4.0 16-bit.

AOL 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0 all still continue to work on Windows 95 and Windows 98. This is likely due to the fact that the software was also written for Windows 2000 and XP. AOL 5.0, 6.0, and 7.0 were unique as AOL wrote them to work across all versions of Windows:  Windows 95/Windows 98/Windows ME/Windows 2000/Windows XP.

Many more people today are still using Windows 2000 and XP; they are more viable for modern uses than Windows 95 and Windows 98.

aol_disc.jpg

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Andrew T.    4

Here's an interesting update that I discovered purely by accident today. On a whim, I fired up AIM 4.8 on my Windows 2000 laptop...and much to my surprise, it connected! Could AOL be doing platform-sniffing instead of version-sniffing, I wondered?

I then rebooted my main desktop to my Win2000 partition, and tried my luck there. No dice. Then I took a closer look: I was actually running version 4.8.2616 on my laptop, and 4.8.2790 on my desktop. The slightly-older "2616" build still works and connects! Maybe because AOL has a skeleton crew these days, they unintentionally left a stone unturned when weeding the old versions out.

I was tempted to lay low on this information: No-doubt AOL would rectify this "oversight" in a jiffy if someone on their team found out about it, much like Google's devs wasted no time killing users' workarounds to access the classic Google Maps. But at least you know about it now.

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sdfox7    157

If you are interested in running AIM on Windows 95, you can try AIM Express, a browser-based version of AIM.

As of 2009, AIM Express only required Internet Explorer 5.5 or any flavor of Firefox.

https://web.archive.org/web/20090904180437/http://www.aim.com/get_aim/express/aim_expr_req.adp

AOL is now free on high-speed, and if you use the AOL client with Buddy List, you wouldn't need a separate AIM client.

EDIT: you can find the older AIM clients such as 4.7.2480 here: http://download.newaol.com/aim/win95/

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dv_2    0
On 06/12/2015 at 1:56 AM, Andrew T. said:

Here's an interesting update that I discovered purely by accident today. On a whim, I fired up AIM 4.8 on my Windows 2000 laptop...and much to my surprise, it connected! Could AOL be doing platform-sniffing instead of version-sniffing, I wondered? I then rebooted my main desktop to my Win2000 partition, and tried my luck there. No dice. Then I took a closer look: I was actually running version 4.8.2616 on my laptop, and 4.8.2790 on my desktop. The slightly-older "2616" build still works and connects! Maybe because AOL has a skeleton crew these days, they unintentionally left a stone unturned when weeding the old versions out. I was tempted to lay low on this information: No-doubt AOL would rectify this "oversight" in a jiffy if someone on their team found out about it, much like Google's devs wasted no time killing users' workarounds to access the classic Google Maps. But at least you know about it now.

Yes, I can confirm it's working...

But it lacks the message logging feature of 4.4.2286.

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Gabby    0

08rV1go.png

Looks like I'm in the same boat with you, Andrew, but in a different version. The classic AIM  5.9.6089. I was one of the people who saw the updates for AIM 7 Jan 1st, 2007 and never upgraded. Call me stuck in my ways but I'll never see AIM for anything except 5.9.6089 (and lower).

Unfortunately for me, downgrading my OS isn't a possibility, and even if it were, I'm not sure if it'd even help this version in particular.

Like you said, Andrew, I'd considered this another of AOL's many stunts (how many times did they say they were discontinuing it? I've lost count) but after googling and finding this thread, I sincerely doubt it.

If anyone finds this thread or knows how to hack AIM 5.9.6089 to continue connecting post-March 15th, I'd be very grateful.

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shinobi    0

I just got the same message today as well. I googled to find out about it and got here...guess it's legit. I'm running AIM 6.9.17.2 on Windows 8. I'm really bummed out, this version is super nostalgic for me and I still use it every day. I really don't want to have to stop using it, so I'm really, really hoping someone finds a workaround...just in case, I downloaded the other versions of AIM 6, to see if maybe they will connect come March 15. I'm going to keep an eye on this thread in case someone thinks of something. :(

Edited by shinobi

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Andrew T.    4

Yeah, I've seen the same.

I wouldn't be surprised if this sudden push of deprecation was caused by corporate shenanigans. The remains of AOL were purchased by Verizon last year, and Verizon no-doubt sees AIM as competition for its own voice and SMS services.

I wonder if the version of Trillian I downloaded in 2003 still works?

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