How Do I Install AOL Desktop on My PC?

by Paul Higgins

First launched in the 1990s, AOL Desktop is a one-stop software suite that allows you to access all of AOL's services -- such as AOL Mail or AIM -- in addition to browsing the Web. You can install the application or upgrade to the latest version by downloading the AOL Desktop setup file from AOL's website and following the installation wizard.

AOL Desktop download window with download percentage at the bottom.

Visit the [AOL Desktop download page]( in your regular browser and click on the "Download It for Free" button to download the installation file. Double-click on the downloaded file to start the installation process. Please note that a dialog box may ask you to allow the application to make changes to your computer. Click on "Yes" to proceed. AOL Desktop now downloads additional files. When the download progress indicator reaches 100%, a new dialog box appears.

Dialog box warning you that all AOL applications will be shut down.

Click on "Continue Install" to allow AOL Desktop to close any running AOL applications. If one or more AOL applications are currently open, save any work in progress before proceeding.

Upgrade and new install options with

Select "Upgrade Existing Version" and choose the appropriate version from the drop-down menu if an older version of AOL Desktop is currently installed on your computer. If this is a brand new install, click on "Install New Version" instead. Finally, select "Continue."

Software settings dialog box with

Select the appropriate AOL Desktop settings and click on "Continue" to proceed to the final screen. Please note that the settings on this screen also affect other browsers on your computer. For instance, selecting "Set AOL Search as your default search provider" and "Set as your default homepage" also changes Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome's default search engine and home page.

Installation settings summary with

Review your installation settings and, if you accept AOL's terms of service, end user license agreement and privacy policy, click on "Install Now." Optionally, you can select a different installation directory on your hard drive by clicking on "Change Location." Once the installation is complete, AOL Desktop automatically launches.


  • check AOL Desktop's hardware requirements are rather modest, with 128MB of RAM, 250MB of free hard drive space, a screen resolution of 800 x 600 or higher and a broadband or dial-up Internet connection needed to properly run the program. On the operating system side, your computer should run Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8.1.

About the Author

Paul Higgins has been working as a writer since 2005, covering topics such as travel, technology, health and finance. He has also served as a Web developer and information technology trainer for more than 10 years. Higgins graduated from the University of Denver in 2006.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Image courtesy of AOL