Portal:AOL-Files/Articles/About Restricted Screennames

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(Originally by AOL-Files staff member The Knight)

Reference 1996 to 1999


This document which focuses on creating restricted Screen names with Visual Publisher Designer is intended for people with a little backround on using Visual Publisher Designer.

Releasing Screen names

Before we can discuss how to actually create these names you need a little background on Restricted Screen names being released from the system. Certain strings in Screen names are prohibited by regular America Online members, so that members can identify a regular AOL Member and a Community Leader or Employee.

Who releases these Screen names?

The Forum Leader of the area that the Commnuity Leader or Employee works in can request any Screen name that has the Forum's blocked prefix in it by going to the America Online Keyword: Allownames. Then, after the Forum Leader submits the request. An Internal Contact will review the request, and he will remove it from the system. Now the Community Leader or Employee will be able to goto Keyword: Names on America Online, type in there screenname that they asked for from their Forum Leader, and instead of saying "That screenname is restricted.", it would goto the Set Password window.

The Screen name System

Lets get some background on how the Screen name system worked in 1996. Any Screen name that was already taken would bring up a small message box saying "That screenname is already in use." If you tryed to create the same Screen name again, it would put a new Screen name in the box, which had the maximum of seven characters of the beginning of the screen name, then three numbers. So if someone tryed to create "HelloWorld", and it was already in use, it would bring back "HelloWo###". People such as Hex and my self used this trick to get restricted names like "Host 596", and "ABCHost331".

In 1997, they updated the screen name system, because of rapid new America Online members joining the service every day, they had it so any screen name in use, it would bring back the new Screen name, which had the maximum of six characters of the beginning of the screen name, then four numbers instead of three.

Creating Restricted Screennames

If you know the Screen name that was released, you can just goto Keyword: Names and type it in. There are ways to find Restricted Screen names that have been released by using a program called a Prefix Scanner. These programs will try to create a certain restricted Screen name, with two or three letters at the end of the screenname. These programs usually go in alphabetical order. One of these programs was created in 1996 by my friend named Sven. The person who is responsible for the idea of making the program is another person, HDs.

Remember how I said that if the Screen name was already in use by another America Online member, that it would return some of the characters in the beginning of the Screen name, with numbers at the end? This is true with restricted screennames also. However, in 1997, America Online installed a patch, so that any Screen name that was restricted, would return "User######".

New Screen name history was made in late 1998 when a person known as 'Dan' figured out how to create restricted screen names again with numbers at the end, and the restricted screen name with only a letter or two taken away from it. This was possible because America Online began the beta testing of 16 Alphanumerical for Internal Accounts. Okay say we found the screen name "Guide SBH" was released recently. But Guide SBH was already created by the rightful Community Leader worker. If you spaced out the Screen name you wanted to create, such as "Guide SBH", now the Screen name's length is thirteen. America Online would cut off the Screen name we were trying to make at the tenth character. Now the Screen name was "Guide ". Then by default, America Online removed the spaces at the end which didnt need to be there. Now the final screen name was "Guide". Now it just went to the Set Password window.

If you tryed to make the screenname "Guide" by spacing it out in the middle again, it would say "That screenname is already in use." If you tryed to create it again, it would return "Guide ####". Then you could have a restricted screen name with numbers.

The Screen name Confirmation window doesnt appear?

Thats because one week after the spacing out trick, America Online installed another patch which stopped any Restricted Screen name being created that wasnt in the Released names file. It wouldnt create it because the America Online Host wasnt telling the Client to send the add sub-account token. Which was 'nA'.

Manually sending the Add sub-account token.

A hacker named Flare found two new ways to create these Restricted Screen names in 1998. One was signing on 'New User' on America Online and creating a new account, when it got to the Screenname window, you would do the same thing as befor. The other way, involved the same methods as befor, with Keyword: Names, except you would have to use a FDO script, that would send the add sub-account token manually after setting the Screen name and Password. The add sub-account token was sent only by 'Flare'. Now all these ways are fixed, unless you find the original Screen name to create.

America Online 3.0 and above update

The tokens were all changed on america online 3.0 clients and higher, around 07/01/99. Now the add sub-account token creates whatever screenname was in the buffer, no matter if its released or not.

This article was created by and for: The Elder God Shrine