Will the AOL 6.0 update cause my system to have problems?

Question

Now that AOL 6.0 is out, should I upgrade to it or wait? I had all kinds of problems when I upgraded to AOL 5.0. Should I expect the same?

-Phil

Answer

This question was answered on November 10, 2000. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

When AOL released version 5.0 of their popular on-line software last year, it was about as disastrous as the problem they had in the mid ‘90’s with too many users and not enough modems.

The problems associated with the version 5.0 release included network settings for other providers getting changed, key Windows files being over-written and in some cases PCs were knocked completely out of commission In fact, a class action suit was filed against them in February making the claim that "as part of its normal operation, Version 5.0 disables, interrupts, alters, or interferes with operations of other software installed on those same computers, including but not limited to disabling any other internet software which provides internet access by non-AOL ISP's that also may be installed on the computer."

Some of the same connectivity issues are beginning to surface for AOL 6.0 and most of them seem to be connected with anyone trying to use it on a high-speed connection

The issue that seems to get AOL in trouble is during the installation it asks, “Would you like to make this installation of AOL the default Internet application…” If you click on “Yes” and you use any other Internet Service Provider or dial-up related programs, you may experience trouble with them If you only use AOL for access and have a dial-up modem, you are less likely to have a problem, because there is nothing else at risk If you have a cable modem, DSL or any dedicated high-speed connection or are on a LAN (Local Area Network), be sure to answer “No” to this question to minimize your chances of a problem.

I downloaded the 6.0 upgrade (which will not work with Windows 2000) and installed it on my system, which is connected to the Internet via a cable modem and have experienced no problems I did, however, answer “No” to making AOL my default program for the Internet and that seems to be the difference between my results and many that have posted issues on the Internet.

The download of the upgrade can be lengthy for those that don’t have a high-speed connection, so you may want to order a CD-ROM version of the software or wait for one to drop into your lap the next time you open a magazine!

The main differences between version 5 and 6 are as follows:

- Re-designed interface

- E-mail with HTML support (finally, but still not POP3 compliant)

- Address Book & "My Calendar" accessible from multiple locations

- [email protected] - allowing you to create private online sites

- An integrated multimedia player

- A "Shopping Assistant"

- New Buddy List features

My philosophy has always been, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, so if you are happy with the performance of AOL 5.0, you might be better off waiting until a few million of your fellow users upgrade first Let the “pioneers” get all the “arrows” and learn from their pain.

If you have installed AOL 6.0, let us know how it went by taking our survey at <a href="http://www.computerproblems.com"><font color="#003399">www.computerproblems.com</font></a> (scroll down to the bottom left).

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on November 10, 2000