Dial-up internet connections are often the only option that many people in rural areas have available; coupled with the fact, in many cases, there are no “local” dial-up internet service providers available and the user has to rely on a national provider (such as AOL).
I recently had a friend of mine, who lives where ticks are as prevalent as cats in the city, whose only option was a dial-up or satellite connection. He had just purchased a computer and he wanted to stay with the provider he had for years. In this case it was AOL (America Online). The dilemma which he faced was that he could not locate any AOL install CDs anywhere. I could not believe my ears. The AOL install CDs, in the early “dialup” internet years would arrive at my doorstep by the bushels.
It was at this point, I offered to help and told him I would download the installation off the internet, via broadband, thinking AOL had that option available. This in itself is where this became quite interesting. You can download an install file (aoldnld.exe), which is a small download; BUT, once you execute the file you need an internet connection to pull down the actual AOL installation and that process by itself you have no control over, except to cancel the install. After further querying the internet for a solution, I found that people are actually selling AOL install CD’s (mostly older versions); and furthermore I could not locate any valid solution to this problem other than going through the AOL site to order the CD.
Due to what I am now seeing as a demand out there for AOL install cd’s, Here is what I did to create a AOL 9.0 Install CD and it worked for me… It is preferable to use a broadband connection and someone with good computer navigation skills to make this as painless as possible.
- Go to the AOL site and look for the AOL Download. At the time of this writing, I located it here:
- Click on “Download Now”; which will initiate the download of the “aoldnld.exe” file, that I mentioned earlier. Save the file to a folder.
- Go to the folder and execute the “aoldnld.exe” file and a progress indicator will appear on the screen.
- Once the progress indicator reaches 100 %, the “Install AOL 9.0VR” dialog box (which is an end user agreement) will appear on the screen.
- At this point, click “CANCEL”, “EXIT SETUP”, then “EXIT”.
- Search the computer for a folder named “waol”. Open the “waol” folder and you will see a subfolder with numbers. In my case the subfolder was named “0.4327.165.1”. These numbers will vary. Open the subfolder.
- The contents of this folder is what you need for an installation (which you can burn to a cd or copy to a flash drive). - (see screenshot)
- The executable file, in this case, to initiate the installation is “waol-0.4327.165.1” (see screenshot). Again, the filename will be “waol” with a string of numbers.
- During the installation it will detect what type of connection you have (i.e. cable, dsl, dialup) or you can manually modify the settings for the dial-up number.
The installation of AOL took approximately 5 minutes (or more) on my test pc… Needless to say, like past AOL installs I’ve worked with, it made numerous changes to my test PC.
Would I install and use AOL on my PC, if I had to? I’m not going to answer that one. Just ask any tech out there and you’ll get the answer.