What is aim.exe?

The genuine aim.exe file is a software component of AOL Instant Messenger by America Online.
AOL Instant Messenger is an instant messaging application owned by America Online. Aim.exe launches the AOL Instant Messenger. This is not an essential Windows process and can be disabled if known to create problems. AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) is an instant messaging service for Microsoft Windows that used the AOL's proprietary, 'Talk to OSCAR' instant messaging protocol and the OSCAR (Open System for Communication in Real-time) Protocol to allow users registered with AOL to communicate in real time. AIM was originally released in May 1997 and became very popular in the early 2000s in North America. It has since relinquished its fame. The application still found presence on mobile devices after 2008, but its paid service lost out to free chat services offered by many social networking sites. Development for AIM was officially halted in 2012. America Online (AOL) is an American telecommunications company that was established in 1985 by Jim Kimsey. It was originally called Quantum Computer Services and provided online services. AOL Inc. is based in New York City and develops and invests in web sites and brands. AOL distributes digital content, markets products, and offers numerous services to consumers, publishers, and advertisers.

AIM stands for AOL Instant Messenger

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.

Click to Run a Free Scan for aim.exe related errors

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) belongs to software AOL Instant Messenger or AIM Ad Hack by America Online ( 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 10/8/7/XP are 67,112 bytes (57% of all occurrences), 3,634,024 bytes, 53,248 bytes or 61,440 bytes. 
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). Aim.exe is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs and monitor applications. Therefore the technical security rating is 6% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: You have the option to uninstall AOL Instant Messenger or AIM 7 from your computer using the Control Panel applet Uninstall a Program.

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 Packed.Vmpbad!gen35 (detected by Symantec), and SoftwareBundler:Win32/Ogimant (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 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic 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 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.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: ASecurity 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. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

aim.exe [all]