Getting Started

Q: What do I need to get started?
A: All you need is the AOL Instant Messenger(TM) software and a computer with a connection to the Internet. AOL Instant Messenger(TM) runs on your existing Internet connection, so when you connect to the Internet (in your usual way), you can use AIM the same way you use any other Internet program -- by double-clicking the program icon. At home, you probably connect to the Internet by dialing into your Internet Service Provider (ISP). At the office or school, your computer probably connects to a Local Area Network (LAN).

You can get by with less, but we recommend you have at least:

  • Pentium processor or PPC Macintosh
  • Windows 95 or higher, WinNT4, Win2000 or Macintosh System 8.5 or higher.
  • 16MB RAM
  • 5MB of free hard drive space
  • 28.8 modem
  • Internet connection that allows full Internet usage (not just a free email service)
  • 800x600 resolution, 256 colors or more
  • Full duplex sound card (though Talk will work with half duplex)

Note: If you're reading this using the Web browser on your computer, you're connected to the Internet, and you can sign on and use AIM with no more dialing or other connections to worry about. It's that easy!

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Q: How much does AOL Instant Messenger (TM) cost to use?
A: The AOL Instant Messenger (TM) service is free. However, you are still responsible for your connection to the Internet (e.g. via an ISP) as well as any associated telephone charges.

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Q: Do I need to Register to use AIM?
A: You need a Screen Name to use AIM, but you may already have one reserved. If you have a Screen Name at any of the following, you can use the same name with AIM: AOL, CompuServe2000, My News, AOL Hometown, or the Personal Finance Channel on AOL.com. If you are an AOL member, go to the AOL member registration page at www.aol.co.uk/aim/register/register.adp to register your name with AIM.

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Q: Can I convert my AIM account to an AOL account?
A: Yes. While you are registering your AOL account, make sure you select the following option to convert your AIM account to an AOL account: You are an AOL Instant Messenger user and you want to create an AOL account. At this time there is not a way to add an AIM Screen Name as an additional Screen Name on your AOL account.

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Q: How can I tell my friends about AOL Instant Messenger?
A: You can participate in our "Sign on a Friend" program, which automatically sends letters to your friends with detailed information about how to get and set up AIM.

To invite a friend to sign on with AIM, select the People menu on the Buddy List menu, click Sign on a Friend, and follow the screen instructions.

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