Portal:AOL-Files/Articles/Sign on Screen Editing

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(Originally by AOL-Files staff member Tau)

Edit the main.idx file with a hex editor to change the screen names that appear on the sign on list. This allows for screen names from different accounts to appear on the same list and it also enables you to make screen names and set parental controls that are not usually available using the Guest feature.


  1. Download a hex editor, such as UltraEdit-32 or HxD which will be used to modify the AOL file that contains the screennames.
  2. Back up the main.idx AOL/tool folder. Copy it and paste it in a different folder incase you something goes wrong while editing the real one.
  3. Close AOL if it is open. If this web page will be closed with AOL then you will need to print out this page.
  4. Open UltraEdit via Start | Programs | UltraEdit | UltraEdit-32 Text Editor.
  5. In UltraEdit, click File | Open. Navigate to the America Online 5.0/idb directory and open main.idx. Note that this will work for any version of AOL so just modify the file path accordingly. An example of the path you might use is C:\America Online 5.0\idb\main.idx
  6. After it has opened click Search | Find. In the box where it says "Find What" type one of your current screen names.
  7. Check the box that says "Find ASCII" then click "Find". UltraEdit will now go through the file and search for that screen name. Once it finds something make sure that the rest of the screen names on your computer are next to or near that name (on the right column).

    If your other screen names are not near what it found then hit Search | Find Next. Now it will find the next occurence of your screen name. Repeat this until you find the section where you see the group of screen names in your sign on list. Now that you have found the group of screen names you can edit any of them. Just type over whatever screen name you want to replace on your sign on list with the new name. Note that AOL4.0 can only have 10 letter screen names and 5 total screen names. AOL 5.0 can have 16 letter screen names and up to 7 screen names. Only type over the screen names there and do not type beyond the period following each screen name (see below).
  8. Click File | Save.
  9. Reload AOL


  • If AOL does not load correctly delete the current main.idx and replace it with the backup you made.
  • Do not put more than the maximum names allowed for the AOL version you are using.
  • Do not type more than the maximum length of characters allowed in a screen name for the AOL verison you are using.

Note: To restore all your original screen names all you need to do is go to Keyword: Names and it will restore all the screen names on the account that your on. But beware, if your on a guest account and you goto keyword: Names all the other names in your sign on list will be changed to the screen names on that persons account.