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Travis, Mac-Trained Product Designer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 759
Experience:  19+ Years of Mac Experience, BSA in Design and 6 Years of Mac Training from University of Cincinnati
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I have aol desktop on my mac. all of sudden I cannot get my

Customer Question

I have aol desktop on my mac. all of sudden I cannot get my emails and i get "server error,, Type Aolmap, Account: on aol (vcanip), authenticate Failure. I also cannot answer as it does not recognize anyone on my address book. What can I do to fix this?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mac
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
If you've already reinstalled AOL desktop, the issue may be with AOL's server itself. In this case, the issue would likely resolve itself in a couple of hours. I've been using an AOL email address religiously for more than a decade (don't ask why), but frequent server errors is one of the biggest drawbacks of the email address.

Another drawback is the program itself. It hasn't been updated for Mac for a couple of years and is very unreliable in Snow Leopard. If you are using 10.6.X, this may be the issue.

What version of Mac OS X do you have? This info can be found under the apple menu / about this mac.

I am about to head out for lunch, but will reply as soon as I return. If you would prefer to work with another expert, I'll leave the question open for another expert to take up from here.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
version 10.6.4 It works on my other 3 accounts on aol desktop. But not this one. It's been almost a day and a half. I can send and get mail from this address on my iphone. Not a problem I can wait
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
If the following suggestions work, please let me know and you can Accept the answer (and if possible, leave positive feedback). If not, please DO NOT Accept the answer yet. Instead, let me know and we'll try some more things or I can refer you to another Expert who may be able to help you further.

Ok, finally about to walk out the door. Return in about an hour.

What you are describing doesn't sound like a server error on aol if you can access it through other means.

When you say "it works on my other 3 accounts on aol desktop" are you referring to 3 other login names in aol or 3 other user accounts on your Mac itself?

First of all, I would suggest you run some general maintenance on the computer. It is an obvious square-one approach. I normally suggest this first because it is good practice plus if we dig too deep into a problem and simple measures could have repaired it in the beginning we'll be kicking ourselves later...

Let's check / repair the disk permissions. Although this doesn't fix all problems it is a great way to start when working on a machine, besides it often cleans up any other smaller problems you may or may not be experiencing.
1) Restart the machine.
2) Before you have opened any programs, go to Applications / Utilities / Disk Utility.
3) Click the "First Aid" tab at the top and run the "Repair Permissions" after selecting your Hard Drive from the list on the left.
4) Shut down the computer.
5) Restart and see if the problem persists. If so, let me know and we'll continue to troubleshoot.

Also, have you considered using the to access your aol accounts instead of AOL desktop? It's much more reliable in my own opinion. I've switched to this many years ago as I also have other email addresses that I check. My personal formula for success has been for email and Firefox for browsing the web. You may want to consider. I know it may be a big switch, but in the long run you'd thank me. Just something to consider.

If I helped, please click ACCEPT. Otherwise I do not get paid. If you still need assistance or have further questions, I'll be glad to keep working until this issue is resolved.
FEEDBACK & Bonuses are always appreciated!
PLEASE, BEFORE leaving Negative Feedback,
allow me the chance to respond here.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
it didn't work
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
3 other login names on aol
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
The next step would be to reinstall AOL Desktop for Mac. But before we go this far, I want to try one more thing.

Create a temporary admin account to see if the issue is occurring system wide or is user specific This will help narrow down the troubleshooting.
1) Go to System Preferences / Accounts
2) Create this temporary account by clicking on the + button. Make sure you make it an admin account.
3) You may have to click the "lock" in the bottom left corner first though.
4) Once you have this new account created, log in to it and test your issues there. Let me know if the issue occurs here as well.

Before you reinstall AOL Desktop for Mac, I would suggest (not a requirement, but a strong suggestion) you use a program like Carbon Copy Cloner ( to create a restorable backup of your Hard Drive to an empty USB External Hard Drive. This free program will make a mirrored copy of your hard drive in it's current state that you can go back to if things go south after the following changes. I do this personally before I perform any kind of install, update or major change to my system. Again, you DO NOT have to do this, but if you have an empty external hard drive, then it is a good idea. Highly recommended, but not required. If you do decide to go this route, let me know and I'll walk you through the procedure.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I tired the temporary account and the results were the same with the same sever error response. I have already tried the method of reinstalling AOL desktop for Mac. That did not work as well. This all seems very odd that this is happening on just my vcanip account and not the others
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
I agree. Since you've reinstalled the program and the problem is occurring across multiple users, plus the problem is only occurring with one specific aol account, the problem may not be with your Mac, but the AOL account itself and how it is accessed with AOL Desktop.

I would suggest trying the following.

Use your internet browser (Safari or Firefox preferred) to access the aol account online through aol's website. Change the password XXXXX the vcanip account.

Try to reconnect using the new password XXXXX your AOL Desktop. You can change the password XXXXX so you don't cause any problems on your iPhone. But see if this corrects the issue first.

Let me know what happens.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Changing password XXXXX firefox worked as lgging on with firefox. But it looks unchanged when clicking directly on my dock. Very strange right?
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
When you say "looks unchanged when clicking directly on my dock" do you mean that changing the password XXXXX AOL Desktop still gives you the same error on this account? You are able to open AOL Desktop correct?

After you changed the password XXXXX the new password XXXXX Firefox and tried to accoess the account with the new password XXXXX AOL Desktop, did you get the same error message as before, or did you change the password XXXXX to the original before opening AOL Desktop?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
On firefox it worked. there was no error report
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
But there was the same old error report with the new password XXXXX AOL Desktop?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
not when I logged onto through firefox. That was successful. When tried again to log on from the aol desktop icon in my dock, it was the same old problem. I am able to log on succesully to vcanip through my iphone as well as through firefox, but not onto directoly to the icon on my dock on my Mac
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
I think we are on the same page, but just to clarify. When you say the icon in your dock, you are referring to the AOL Desktop icon that loads the AOL Desktop program?

Just to satisfy my curiosity, go to your Applications folder, click on the AOL Desktop program itself in the Applications folder. Are you experiencing the same problem here?

When you say you reinstalled AOL Desktop before, how did you do that?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, the same problem hppens when logging from the applications folder. I put the older one in the trash and then reinstalled.
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
I am at a complete loss. You reinstalled the program, changed the password, checked the account on another admin user - all with no avail. The problem likely is the account itself. But alas, the account works fine from other avenues (iPhone and web browser).

I am clutching at straws here, but I have to ask the following:

When you reinstalled the AOL Desktop software, did you have to re-add your accounts back in or did it automatically find the user names you have?

At what point do you receive the error report? Is it after you attempt to log into the account or as soon as AOL Desktop loads?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It automatically re-added the accounts back in. The error reports happen whenever I try to read an email. No new emails have been isted on the aol desktop on vcanip since the 28th. There is a constant exclamation point ! next to the new mail icon.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
What do you think would happen if I deleted just the vcanip account and then recreated it again? Would I lose all files?
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
Since I do not have AOL Desktop on my mac currently (and I was unsuccessful in trying to download it from aol's server as the server keeps timing out), I can't tell you for sure.

That would be my next step, but I wouldn't do it unless I had a backup of my hard drive and all info in the AOL program that was necessary was already backed up (just in case).

Beyond that, I'm out of guesses. I'll go ahead and Opt Out in hopes that another expert may have a suggestion that I can't think of, unless you have any more questions. I am about to head out for the day. I'll be back online tonight and follow up then to see how this has progressed.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
sorry, but can't accept answer as nothing has worked to answer the problem as it still exists.
Expert:  Travis replied 7 years ago.
No problem. I am going to Opt Out and hopefully another expert can offer some new advice. Sorry.