Navigating Vintage AOL .art Images in the Modern Age


How can I view the contents of vintage AOL .art files on a modern HP computer with Windows 11, considering that multiple online file converters have failed to open them? These files were discovered on an old floppy disk, and I am eager to explore their contents. Could you recommend any contemporary, cost-free methods to access these files? Your expert guidance would be greatly appreciated.


The .art file format was proprietary to AOL and used for images downloaded through their service. Due to its compression technique, it’s not widely supported by contemporary software.

Step 2: Attempting to Open .art Files

Before we explore third-party solutions, it’s worth trying to open these files with built-in Windows tools. Sometimes, simply renaming the file extension to a more common format like .jpg or .png can prompt Windows to attempt to open it. However, this is a long shot and often doesn’t yield results due to the unique compression of .art files.

Step 3: Using Legacy Software

One method that has been suggested by users in online communities is to use an older version of the AOL software itself. This software can sometimes open .art files directly. After opening them, you can then save the images in a more modern format like .PNG or .JPG.

Step 4: Converting Files with XnView

Another potential solution is to use a program called XnView. This software supports a wide range of formats, including .art. It allows for batch processing, which can be particularly useful if you have multiple files to convert.

Step 5: Seeking Help from Online Communities

If the above methods don’t work, consider reaching out to tech support communities online. There are many enthusiasts and experts who may have encountered similar issues and can offer guidance or alternative solutions.


While it may require some patience and experimentation, opening AOL .art files on a Windows 11 system is possible. Whether through the use of legacy software, third-party image viewers, or the collective knowledge of online communities, you can unearth the contents of these digital time capsules. Remember, always back up your files before attempting any conversions or opening them with unfamiliar software. Good luck!

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