What is aim.exe?

The .exe extension on a filename indicates an executable file. Executable files may, in some cases, harm your computer. Therefore, please read below to decide for yourself whether the aim.exe on your computer is a Trojan that you should remove, or whether it is a file belonging to the Windows operating system or to a trusted application.

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Aim.exe file information

Windows Task Manager with aim
Aim.exe process in Windows Task Manager

The process known as AOL Instant Messenger or AOL Instant Messenger (SM) or LimeFire - By Zim belongs to software AOL Instant Messenger or AIMutation or LimeFire - By Zim or AIM Ad Hack or Earthlink Instant Messenger by America Online ( or or AOL (

Description: Aim.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. The aim.exe file is located in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files" (generally C:\Program Files\AIM\). Known file sizes on Windows 8/7/XP are 67,160 bytes (52% of all occurrences), 61,440 bytes and 6 more variants. 
The program has a visible window. The file is not a Windows system file. The program can be removed using the Control Panel's Add\Remove programs applet. The file is a Verisign signed file. The aim.exe file is certified by a trustworthy company. The application listens for or sends data on open ports to a LAN or the Internet. The application starts upon Windows startup (see Registry key: Run, MACHINE\RunServices, MACHINE\Run, MACHINE\User Shell Folders, DEFAULT\Run). Therefore the technical security rating is 9% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.
You have the option to uninstall AOL Instant Messenger or AIMutation from your computer using the Control Panel applet "Add/Remove programs".

Recommended: Identify aim.exe related errors

External information from Paul Collins:

Important: Some malware camouflages itself as aim.exe, particularly when located in the C:\Windows or C:\Windows\System32 folder, for example WORM_RBOT.GEW (detected by TrendMicro), and Backdoor:Win32/Rbot.gen or Backdoor:Win32/Sdbot (detected by Microsoft). Therefore, you should check the aim.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

AOL Instant Messenger
  Oliver Dutta   (further information)
Instant Messenging Service (AIM = Aol Instant Messenger)
  Mike   (further information)
Aol Instant Messenger (AIM) TOTALLY HARMLESS!
  John Hays   (further information)
can easly be infected to harness trojans that hide them self from firewalls
receive message aim.exe has caused errors, and my computer shuts itself down, why I not understand
Not dangerous
    (further information)
I cant delete it... its called aim.exe but i dunno how i got it... and makes my computer slow.. a lot slower than before ..its a worm
It is a IM spreaded virus that mines information and slows your computer down.
  Jay S  
AOL Instant Messenger installs Adware WxBug.EXE and then it is nearly impossible to remove AOL Instant Messenger or WxBug.EXE.
It's killing my PC. Too dangerous! ALERT!
  Andre Portugal  
Harmless messaging system, but can install other unwanted programs during installation if you're not careful.
AIM itself isn't harmful but it installs, without warning, Viewpoint Media Player that basically replaces Windows Media Player. Check you Add/Remove panel and remove viewpoint media player
  Nate Henjes   (further information)
It is malicious adware,not entirely sure where i got it, im trying security task manager (free for scanning and quarantining processes) so far everything i have quarantined has stayed off : aim.exe, cAppp.exe, mc-110-12-0000190.exe, system32s, {2296428D- - - .exe, i have also looked it up elsewhere, some people say to enter windows in safe mode and delete them from the registry so they can't re-manifest themselves, i haven't tried that yet. Good luck.
  Tim   (further information)
If you have aol installed it should be Ok (with a good antivirus of course), but if you got it and dont have aol installed its really dangerous, and you should delete the process.
when I shutdown my windows then error shows up like,,,aimskip.dll
aim.exe could be either a virus or AOL Instant Messenger. If you have AOL and AOL products installed you "may" be fine. If you don't then its probably a virus. I got this virus from another virus called hookah.exe. One way to tell which is which, is by going into your configuration manager. (RUN/MSCONFIG) Check your startup programs or your services. The fake aim.exe will say its by Microsoft and the real one will say AOL. Any good antivirus software will catch it and kill it easily. You should also search your registry and delete and aim.exe regedits it creates. (RUN/REGEDIT)
Can't seem to get rid of this popup
its a virus and slows down ur computer By ALOT

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of aim.exe: based on 17 votes with 18 user comments. 5 users think aim.exe is essential for Windows or an installed application. 2 users think it's neither essential nor dangerous. 3 users suspect danger. 7 users think aim.exe is dangerous and recommend removing it. 3 users don't grade aim.exe ("not sure about it").

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Best practices for resolving aim issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with aim. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using cleanmgr and sfc /scannow, uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using msconfig) and enabling Windows' Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off doing a repair of your installation, or in the case of Windows 8, executing the DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the aim.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: Security Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

aim.exe [all]