I recently had to troubleshoot AOL mess. Is truely a piece of crappy software. I did not come across anything about AOL crashing Vista but since I have not deleted notes you might as well have them. Just because Vista stops crashing does not mean AOL runs good!
This AOL forum is pretty good AOL Browser - AOL Message Boards
but this is better Anti-AOL
show how to really
remove/reinstall AOL, network adaptor and all Anti-AOL - How to Uninstall the AOL WAN Miniport (Adapter) from Any PC
Here is one with same problem AOL 9.5, 9.1 Crashs Vista - AOL & Microsoft Windows Vista - AOL Message Boards
That forum has a section for Vista vs. AOL AOL & Microsoft Windows Vista - AOL Message Boards
Java has this tip for optimzing, most agree from what I found How do I resolve problems running applets in AOL? - 1.4.2_xx, 1.5.0, 6.0
If aunt has old slow computer it is best to disable.
Problem I had to fight was about freezing not total system crash though. Possible fix for freezes is to disable new restore session function in 9.5. And to delete all (IE) browsing history including settings stored by add-ons. Some also have fixed problems by killing "Fast start" which preloads AOL when Windows boots. You see that in log-on screen I think. Or in settings somewhere.
Worst about AOL must be TopSpeed which now cant be disabled. You can try renaming aoltpsd3.exe in Topspeed\3.0 folder but not sure it works. There are other services and processes regarding topspeed. You need to search for this, cant remember details. I have some notes only.
AOL actually has a pretty good System information tool, find it in start menu. Click utilities and you can clear its monster cache and click "One-click Fixes". Connectivity tab is most useful but there is no "dont make Vista crash" function. Most of the delete and redetect should be tried. Strange they have so much help for troubleshooting..
If you try to clean up/reinstall again be sure to back up email/favorites. Or are they on their server? If AOL "personal storage" is corrupted somehow and not deleted then it might not help to "uninstall". Try remove everything AOL. Let AOL backup for you - there are 2 folders or backups, one for settings and one for content I think. Search "pcf folder" for more info.
And be sure all relevant AOL processes have full internet access in firewall. That is AOL (waol.exe), AOL Connectivity Service (AOLacsd.exe), AOL Connectivity Service Dialer (AOLDial.exe), AOL Loader (aolload.exe), AOL Shared Components (aolsoftware.exe), AOL System Information (sinf.exe), AOL TopSpeed (aoltpsd3.exe)
Forgot that the IE8 issue talked about here http://forums.spybot.info/showthread.php?t=46906
and here IE8 and SpyBot
also goes for AOL. Think even in official FAQ where they show how to delete in registry. Can cause problems with login.