AOL Gold Alternatives

Dear Computer Lady,

We have been using the free AOL software as long as we have had computers but recently, I was notified that all older versions of AOL Desktop software will be discontinued in a few weeks, replaced by AOL Desktop Gold, and that access to our current version will be discontinued at that time.

AOL Desktop Gold will require a “small monthly fee”. Can you suggest an alternate “free” service comparable to AOL, and also one that we can transfer our files, emails, contacts, etc. to?

Thanks for all your help! You’ve been a blessing since I found you.


Dear Judy,

I have received a lot of questions about AOL moving to a monthly charge for their software, and I have done a bit of research. Here is what I have found.

AOL Desktop will indeed be switched to a “Gold” version that you will have to pay about $4/month to use.

I have read conflicting statements about the old version of the desktop software. Some say it will continue to work, others say that it won’t. AOL says you can still access your old emails and contacts, but you will not be able to send or receive new messages.

If you don’t upgrade to Desktop Gold, you can still access all your emails and contacts by going to and logging into your account there.

I have never used the AOL desktop software, so I can’t really tell you what service might offer the same features. Nothing will ever really be exactly the same.

Hopefully others who have switched to something different can send me an email at and share their experiences.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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