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AOL Instant Messenger Instructions

Instructions for downloading, installing and using AOL Instant Messenger software.

General: To communicate online with other students and perhaps a tutor, you need to have special software installed on your computer. AOL is one company which supplies such software free of charge.

  1. Purpose: AOL IM is used as a backup software for online tutoring. AOL IM is very simple in use, it is like real time e-mail. If you encounter problems with entering Centra e-meeting room, you should sign in AOL IM and your tutor will try to help you to enter the meeting room. AOL IM is not used for online tutoring sessions, but only as a backup.
  2. Screen Name and E-mail Address: When you download the AOL IM chat software, you will have to select a "screen name" that will identify you to the system and to the other people in your on-line group. You will also need to have an e-mail address. If you do not have an e-mail address, you can get one at no charge by going to either: (Click on Mail in the second line, Connect.)

    The rest of these instructions describe how to get the AOL IM software.

Getting the AOL IM Chat Software-First Alternative:
  1. Look for the icon of a yellow man walking on your desktop with a caption that says, "AOL Instant Messenger". Double click on the icon. A window will open up which says, "Sign On" at the top. At the bottom, the version number will be printed. If the version number is 4.7 or higher, you can probably use the version that is already on your computer. You can then just get your username and password from the instructions below without downloading the software. However, if some features of AOL IM do not work for you, you may need to go back later and download the latest version of the software.
  2. Whether you have or do not have the AOL IM software on your computer, you are now ready to go to the AOL website to select your screen name and password, and, if necessary, download the software.
Getting the AOL IM Chat Software-Second Alternative: Download the AOL IM software from the web site.
  1. Note: The instructions below are valid as of Feb. 9, 2001. In the event that AOL changes the layout of its site in the future, follow the current instructions on their site. Before starting this procedure, you should close all your other applications, since you may need to restart your computer at the end of the installation, and you could lose data in unsaved applications.
  2. Go to (If you see a box advertising AOL 7.0, close that box by clicking in the "x" in the upper right corner of the box..) There are two downloads available on the AOL site.

    The one at the top of the home page says, "Try AOL 7.0 With Our Best Offer Yet..."

    You do NOT want this download. It will make AOL your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

    Instead scroll down the homepage, just a short distance, until you see a blue rectangle on the right side of the screen, with a logo of a yellow man and a message: "AOL Instant Messenger. Click here to get it now!" This is the location of the link with the Netscape browser. With other browsers, it may be in another location on the page. For some versions of Internet Explorer, you will see the link in the center of the page: "AOL Instant Messenger, AIM Express" under the "People and Chat" section:

    This is the software you want to download. Click on this link. Then when you get the new page, scroll down and click on the red button that says:

  3. You will then get a screen that asks you to choose a screen name and a password. Also fill in your e-mail address and birth date. Then click on "Continue" or "Submit". (If the system does not accept one of your entries, change your entry and try again.)

  4. On the next screen, "AOL Instant Messenger Registration," scroll down and click on "Windows" or "Macintosh" depending on your operating system. (If your computer already had the AOL IM software, you can close your browser now and skip down to the instructions for opening AOL IM on your computer.

  5. When you are given the option of the location to save the downloaded file, install_AIM.exe (or aim.hqx), select "Desktop". If your operating system does not allow this, select the default location, but write it down, so you can find the downloaded file later.
  6. After the download is complete, minimize the "AOL Instant Messenger Registration" screen.
  7. Double click on the Install_AIM icon on your desktop to install the software.
  8. Click "yes" to accept the license agreement.
  9. Click "Next" for setup program.
  10. Accept, but write down, the default location for the installed file, which will probably be: C:\Program Files\Netscape\Communicator\Program\AIM…. or simply C:\Program Files\AIM. Click on "OK", then "Next".
  11. Select Dialup Modem if your computer is not in a network and LAN if it is.
  12. Ready to Install: Click on "Next".
  13. Click on "OK". At this point, you may be given an message saying that not all the needed files were downloaded, but asking you to restart your computer. You should have closed all of your other applications before starting this procedure. If you did, accept the restart option. If you didn't close all your other applications, you should do so now. Then restart your computer.
  14. Opening the AOL IM application: If you already had the AOL IM software on your computer, continue the instructions from here.
  15. After your computer restarts, you should see the AOL IM logo (a yellow man walking) on your desktop. Double click on it now.
  16. When you see the AOL IM dialog box, select "New User", and type your screen name over it.
  17. Hit Tab and type your password.
  18. Uncheck "Save Password" if you do not want your password saved.
  19. Quick Overview: If you have time, click on the topics you would like to see. Then select Next a number of times, then select "Finish" at the end.
  20. Click on "Sign On" to open the AOL IM application. A window should then appear which gives you the choice of "Online" or "List Setup". Choose "List Setup" and type in the screen names of the persons you will be chatting with. Be sure you don't make typing errors, and note that the names are case sensitive.
  21. Then click on "Online". You will be told which of these persons (if any) are online on that moment.
  22. Highlight the name of a Buddy you want to chat with. Then click on the group icon at the bottom of the screen with the label, "Send Buddy Chat Invitation." Then you can send a message initiating the chat. You can also click on the single person icon with the label, "Send Instant Message." You will only be able to chat with one person at a time in this mode.
  23. If you encounter any problems with the above procedure, contact your online tutor via e-mail.

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