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Can I retrieve old AOL instant messenger conversations?

No. Not that I am aware of.

That means I know of no way to retrieve an old conversation or an old instant message. As soon as you close the AIM chat window, the conversation is no longer accessible to you.

Article C1991 - June 7, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

s herwin
July 2, 2004 3:27 AM

I am using a friends computer and they have AOL instant messanger. I would like to change user names from time to time, so that I can stay incontact with my friends while on line. Could you please tell me the process for switching between IM users???? thanks for the help

July 2, 2004 8:42 AM

On the "My AIM" menu, just sign off. Then sign in using the other AIM name & password.

July 6, 2004 2:52 PM

How do I find unsaved old Aol Instant Messenger Conversations? I really need to find an old one that I had with a friend, but I dont know how.

July 6, 2004 2:53 PM

As I said in the article you're commenting on: I don't believe it can be done.

July 7, 2004 11:17 AM

Somehow yesterday my old aol screen name was not in service anymore when I just used it the day before. That same day I got my aol name changed to used to be Lilchris227. Is there anyway to retrieve my old aol buddylist from my "Lilchris227" screen name?

July 7, 2004 11:21 AM

I honestly don't know. I'd contact AOL technical support as soon as possible. If they have a way (and they might), I'm sure the sooner you contact them the better.

July 18, 2004 4:17 PM

Can someone else hone into my instant mess with another to read or copy or save it for their own use.?

July 18, 2004 9:14 PM

If they have physical access to your machine, probably. For example a parent could install monitoring software or a keylogger. (See )

August 4, 2004 5:19 PM

I need to find my password out. I forgot it so how and where shall I go?

August 4, 2004 6:47 PM

Danielie: Even though your password's not "stolen" - this article has the best tips to recovery:

February 11, 2005 7:46 AM

Hi! I'm just curious as to how secure IM through Compuserve is. Is there anyway to go to review, history, or archives and see your old conversations, and can anyone do that? I've been told it's not safe to discuss personal things. True? Thanx

olivia martinez
April 4, 2005 3:35 PM

does aol keep track of im coversations

April 4, 2005 7:45 PM

They now claim not to. This article as more:

Idiot Savior
July 18, 2005 6:14 AM

Get Trillian. Trillian logs all your converations in easy-to-access folders.

August 11, 2005 10:07 AM

AIM's main drawback is that it doesn't do the little things as well as the competition. You can save conversations manually, but you can't archive them automatically. You can send and receive files, but only one at a time. You can't log on as "invisible," hiding your online status from buddies, nor can you send an IM to someone who's off-line.

August 25, 2005 8:31 AM

isn't it true that most computers save pretty much anything for a certain amount of time in an internet wouldn't old messages be on that for a certain amount of time?

August 25, 2005 9:48 AM

Not an "internet" file, no. There are temporary files that programs may, or may not use. (I don't beleive that the IM clients use them.) And once deleted those are often quickly ovwritten by other programs writing to the hard drive.

September 12, 2005 2:19 PM

I know there is no way to retrieve IM conversations when you are using AIM. But what if you are using AIM through AOL? I've heard that there is some way to access emails and IM conversations even if those emails are not AOL 'mails and the person is no longer signed into the email website, or signed into IM. Is this possible, and how would I delete those records? Would clearing my cookies and temp files do the trick?

September 15, 2005 2:31 PM

Can aol track an instant message I sent to someone? Can they tell if it has been edited as in her acting like me writing things?

September 15, 2005 4:40 PM

No, not that I'm aware of.

Nobody Important
December 17, 2005 11:33 AM

There are several programs and addons to AIM that support logging conversations. DeadAIM, AIM+(if that still exists) and Middle Man are a few. You won't be able to retrieve conversations from before you installed it but if you enable logging you should be able to go back to any conversation you have afterwards.

June 7, 2006 10:57 PM

Well, I believe Google Desktop Beta provides a way to search your desktop, websites you've visited, emails, and old chats. I've never tried it, but it might work.

June 27, 2006 12:20 PM

Wait, so theres no way of looking at my old conversations from like a day ago?

June 27, 2006 2:50 PM

As stated in the article: "As soon as you close the AIM chat window, the conversation is no longer accessible to you."

September 17, 2006 3:58 PM

I can be done. My parents did it and came up with a whole bunch of dirt on me. They even printed out the past conversations. I have yet to figure out how they did it.

Leo A. Notenboom
September 18, 2006 10:17 AM

They probably installed parental monitoring software.

October 13, 2006 9:29 PM

To all of you that need a message retrved try contacting the sevices you are use such as AOL Yahoo MSN. If it is a life or death thing they should be able to retrive the messages for you. It may cost but they keep alot of messages on file due to the fact a message does not take alot of space. Also go to tools and select the messanger service to auto save the messages. That way you will have them even if the service closes on its own. That is something parents might want to do and they can keep a log of who the child is talking to.

November 28, 2006 2:20 PM

guys use trillian if you want to save your chat history. works great!!

your mother
November 28, 2006 2:21 PM

trillian works with aim, msn, icq, yahoo.....nice prog and history

January 6, 2007 7:35 PM

Get google desktop to retrieve old messenging conversations.

February 18, 2007 11:23 AM

How do I find unsaved old Aol Instant Messenger Conversations? I really need to find an old one that I had with my best friend and idk how i need you to help me today thank you

Leo A. Notenboom
February 18, 2007 12:20 PM

Hash: SHA1

The answer is in the article you just commented on, at the top of the

You can't.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


May 4, 2007 4:47 PM

In newspapers, when there is a kidnapping or murder, police can usually trace conversations on AIM. How can they do that if there is no way to retrieve the convos?

Leo A. Notenboom
May 5, 2007 5:49 PM

Hash: SHA1

Newspapers? Or TV? Television has done a lot to seriously give people the wrong
impression about what's possible, or how quickly.

That being said: you're talking about law enforcement, and then can go directly
to AOL with the appropriate court orders and get information that's otherwise
unavailable to you and me.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


May 24, 2007 8:03 AM

If you do the "auto save" does that save onto your computer or can you access it anywhere you use aim. If so, how?!?!?

David Beroff
July 31, 2007 8:52 AM

To enable conversation logging in AIM version 6, select Edit -> Settings -> IM Logging -> Log IMs & Log Chats -> Save. Hope that helps.

November 9, 2007 8:47 PM

how can i delete an of my old aim messages?

November 12, 2007 7:39 PM

Would pay $1000 to someone that can help me retrieve chat logs from Sept of 2000.

November 27, 2007 5:09 PM

I was wondering how i could look up an old conversation on MSN messenger

December 31, 2007 2:09 PM

I just gave my little brother my old desktop because I got a new laptop. Am I able to look at my old AIM conversations that I saved on the old computer through my new one?

February 21, 2008 9:57 AM

My boyfriends in touble and the only way to get him out of it is to retieve old aol instant messages. Does anyone know how i can do that? I would pay.

March 4, 2008 2:00 PM

yes there is a way to get the logs i'll come back later once i find out how, i have to ask my boyfriend

June 16, 2008 4:53 AM

i need 2 retrieve a conversation bitwin my frend n me.but i dnt kno how 2. i am usin MSN messenger 3.0

August 1, 2008 12:27 PM

I need to please pull up old AOL IM conversations, the IMs were deleted through the IM Logging window and cleared per my boss. Anyone aware of how to get them back?

October 1, 2008 3:47 AM

I was able to find some of my IM's. When I did a search for Archive and opened it and there was my screen name and I opened it and it had my recent IM's stored there.

October 20, 2008 5:04 AM

need to retrieve my history of conversation from you window live message, can you do that for me ...need help , please !

November 10, 2008 9:57 PM

OK so my stupid friend deleted my myspace blogs && my blogs had my deep feelings && stuff but this really old myspace conversation was there too && it means the whole world to me! && i need that conversation back please help me how i can get it!

A) why did you let anyone else have that kind of access? That's asking for trouble.

B) I know of no way to get it back. Sorry.
- Leo

December 16, 2008 7:33 AM

Can a friend see a message I sent if I closed the conversation and logged off?

May 31, 2010 3:59 AM

If one of my friends and me have got a conversation previously,after i have deleted her contact and after that i readded her again.Will our long time ago previous conversation history stays? In her msn and in mine please?If we use to communicate like a 1-2 years ago? Just would like to be sure please.
Thank you in advance

April 20, 2011 4:12 PM

I don't think thats entirely true, because I was looking at aim, and I clicked on something, and a conversation from a couple of months ago popped up. I dont remember what I did, but there is a way to recover aim chats

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