AOL Instant Messenger was initially part of AOL Desktop before it was released as a standalone software program for Windows in 1997.
It became a popular messaging client in a crowded market, as it competed with programs like Yahoo Messenger, ICQ or MSN Messenger for market share.
The popularity of messaging client waned with the rise of new services and smartphones. AOL stopped development of the client back in 2012 but kept services online.
AIM Shutdown facts
Here are the most important information in regards to the discontinuation of AIM:
- AIM will be shut down on December 15, 2017, and users won't be able to sign in to the service anymore, or use it.
- Services will function normally until that date, downloads links will be removed prior however.
- Data associated with AIM will be deleted.
- The change won't affect @aim.com email addresses.
- Users can save images and files, and the chat history. Note that the option to do so will stop on December 15, 2017.
How to save the AIM chat historySome AIM clients and the AIM website offer options to save the chat history. Note that this works only if you have not disabled the option to save a copy of your chats, and only for chats not set to "go off the record".
One of the easier options to access the chat history is to find it on the local hard drive. AOL suggests that you run a search for AIM Logs to find the location.
On Windows, the default location for logs is c:\users\username\Documents\AIM Logs\.
How to save AIM images and filesThe chat log does not include images and files. To save those, do the following:
- Sign in to the AIM client.
- Open the chat history with a buddy, and scroll though the listing.
- Click on the image or file, it will open in a browser tab or window.
- Right-click on it to save it.
AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) alternativesHere is a short list of alternatives that are still under development. The focus is on desktop programs, or services that include a desktop program:
- Facebook Messenger -- Available for mobile and desktop systems.
- Jitsi -- Open source audio/video and chat communication with end to end encryption and support for various protocols.
- Pidgin -- Pidgin is a multi-protocol chat client that supports several services and protocols include ICQ, XMPP, or IRC.
- Signal Messenger -- Available for Android, iOS and Desktop operating systems. Supports group, text, voice and video chat, document and picture sending, encryption, and more.
- Telegram Messenger -- Available for Android, iOS, Mac OS X, PC, Linux, and as a web version. Supports encryption, file sending, groups, message destruction, synchronization, and more.
- Trillian -- Instant messaging service for desktop and mobile operating systems. Not free.