Ohh..how I feel your frustration my friend. It seems that every major OEM will put all kinds of junk on your machine these days.
Have you tried uninstalling the software from Add/Remove Programs? Assuming, you did, you need to manually remove more folders & files. Follow this guide below. Note that I'm not familiar with the Vista OS yet; these instructions are based on XP. You may have to ammend the instructions in order for it to work with Vista.
1) Allow to show all hidden files. In My computer, go to Tools, Folder Options, View. Scroll down to enable viewing of all files. Click Apply, then OK.
2) In Windows Explorer, expand the Program Files folder. Delete any folders that are either AOL or American On-line.
3) In the same folder, expand the Common Files folder and look for any folders, files referencing AOL or American On-line, delete them.
4) Now go back to the root directory of C and expand: Documents & Settings. You now need to open up each User accounts folders and delete any AOL referencing mat'l. This includes the Default User and All Users folders.
Expand one of the folders and THEN each of these: \Application Data, \Local Settings\Application Data, \Desktop, and \Start Menu
Remove any references. Do the same for all other folders in the Documents & Settings folder.
5) Remove any shortcuts from your desktop for AOL.
6) Do a search for "AOL" (without the quotes) and ensure you also select all subfolders and all files. Remove any traces found.
You should now have all traces of files removed from your computer.TO REMOVE TRACES FROM THE REGISTRY
Download & install the last Freeware version of JV16 Powertools here (I'm not sure if this program works with Vista or not, but try it)http://www.321download.com/LastFreeware/index.html
1) Open the program and click the Registry Tool tab. A list of installed software will appear in the Window. Don't worry if there is stuff you don't recognize, this is normal.
2) Put a checkmark next to all entries for AOL and American Online.
3) Select REMOVE.
4) Now, go to the tools menu, select "Registry Finder". In the dialog box that opens up, type in "AOL" without the quotes, then click Continue.
5) In the next box, make sure that everything under "Select which root keys to scan" is checked. Under Search options, ONLY CHECK the 3 items that begin with the word "Analyze...."
6) Click start and let it scan. Place a tick next to any items with the word AOL in it. Please be very careful and make absolutely sure AOL is clearly defined. You may find enteries where aol is part of a word, these are NOT the software related ones you want to delete. LEAVE THOSE ALONE. If you are unsure, then LEAVE IT ALONE!
7) Repeat steps 4) thru 6) this time searching for the term "American Online" without the quotes.
**You need to repeat steps 4) thru 7) for each user account including the adminstrator. You will have to logon to each user account in order to do this. It can get quite tedious, but the first run will be the longest.
You should now have all remenants of AOL off of your system.
I have succesfully used this method to remove over 20 unwanted programs off my computer without a single trace left over. Good luck!