Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Over! CompuServe Classic is Closing

CompuServe Classic, the legendary online service that once dominated the industry, will close June 30 after 30 years in cyberspace. CompuServe 2000, a newer iteration of the service, will remain online.

Long outdistanced by newer rivals and long neglected since its acquisition by America Online, its membership has dwindled to a relatively insignificant number of cyberdinosaurs -- including myself. My CompuServe Classic account dates to 1985; six years after CompuServe's online services for personal computer users debuted in 1979. CompuServe itself was founded in 1969.

While CompuServe Classic's passing won't affect too many Web surfers, it will indeed close a major chapter in the evolution of cyberspace. I'll miss my old numerical address: 72407,3343.

Below is the text of the closing announcement.

So long, old friend.

-----Original Message-----

From: CompuServe Member Services
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 4:18 PM
Subject: Important CompuServe Classic Account Notification

Dear CompuServe Classic Member,

After many years of providing online services, we regret to inform you that as of June 30, 2009 the CompuServe Classic service will no longer operate as an Internet Service Provider. We hope this does not cause you an inconvenience.

Note that this shutdown only relates to the CompuServe Classic service. The CompuServe 2000 service will continue to operate as it does today.

We're aware that this change may raise several questions for you.
Here's what this will mean:


* If you need dial-up Internet access, there are two options you may wish
to consider.

Netscape Internet Service (as low as $9.95 per month)
+ Includes 1 month FREE trial!
+ Unlimited dial-up access

AOL ($11.99 per month)
+ Includes 1 month FREE trial!
+ Unlimited dialup access
+ 24/7 tech support
+ McAfee security software
+ Unlimited email storage


* The last day you will be able to access your CompuServe Classic account will be June 30, 2009. Your dial-up access will no longer be available after this date.

* We urge you to immediately forward, back up, move or otherwise copy to a location outside the CompuServe Classic system any stored data you wish to keep. This data will be inaccessible after the CompuServe Classic service is closed on June 30.

* The CompuServe Classic Ourworld "homepage" service
( will also close on June 30. After that date, you will be unable to access or retrieve any images, files, or other material stored in the Ourworld service. Any content you wish to retain must be saved to a new location before June 30.

* Your final monthly charge for the CompuServe Classic service will occur on your June billing date.


* We are creating a new email system where you will be able to continue
using your existing CompuServe Classic email address. This new email
service will be available to you at no charge - but you will need to
provide your own Internet access.

* Some of the benefits of the new email system include:

+ Unlimited storage lets you keep as many messages as you want
+ Ability to receive large messages (up to 16MB per message)
+ Industry leading spam and virus protection to help eliminate
threats and hassles
+ Mail filters that allow you to store and organize mail
+ Open accessibility and compatibility with IMAP & POP3
+ Seamless integration w/ AIM for instant messaging

* The transition to the new mail system will occur in mid-May. More
information will be sent to you shortly concerning the migration
of your mailbox to the new CompuServe Classic mail system.


Member Services phone support will remain available for the
CompuServe 2000 service, and can answer any billing questions
about CompuServe Classic.

Should you have questions about the termination of this service,
please contact CompuServe Member Services at:

Tech Support
8 a.m. - 1 a.m. EST, Mon - Fri
10 a.m. - 10 p.m. EST Sat and Sun

Billing Support
10 a.m. - 10 p.m. EST, Mon - Sat
Closed Sundays and all major U.S. Holidays

We thank you for being a CompuServe Classic member over the past years.


CompuServe Member Services


Anonymous said...

Obviously its no longer viable for compuserve to provide this kind of service.

After almost 30 years of having my email address at compuserve I will finally have to let it go to the Spam that infests it each day.

I'm with you -- RIP my friend.

Anonymous said...

from 70541,
I'll miss it. I'm trying to find out how long I've had this account...

vasjpan2 said...

Compuserve used to be like Lexis Nexis is today before they added internet. I had sent them a 1987 suggestion to connect to a local bitnet university and they used ohio state.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know of a text-based email program that rips (is quick) like compuserve 4.0?

i can send more emails per minute than anyone on any other email program i can find.

without compuserve 4.0, my productivity will be drastically reduced.

it sorts like lightening, because teh DAT file is resident in my computer. with these web-based ones, everything is sooo...slooooww...

vasjpan2 said...

76530,1430 since 1987 and other in 1983. Open to suggestions. Mostly now I use a unix shell dialup which connects to gmail and ymail which are always flaking on the pure-text. I still have my main files on DOS6.22 with Win3.11 and W98. I am gravitating to Linus and Java apps for portability. Still, extricating all my old DOS apps would waste months of my time better spent elsewhere.

Bill said...

Any idea how many of us are left?

Mijohn said...

Ah, CompuServe. I was an early subscriber. Haven't thought about it for years. Sad to hear another chapter in history is closing, tho.

Don't know if many people recall this, but CompuServe is credited with launching the first online newspaper in the US. The Columbus Dispatch in 1980. CompuServe was based in Ohio.

Ray said...

I've been a CompuServe Classic member since about 1979, when I was working for Radio Shack and you had to buy your subscription there (all of the R/S stores had 70005,nnn numbers). Since then, I've maintained my email address because it was the most reliable - I'm glad to see they're not dropping that one (I can't stand the AOL mail interface, I like my plain ol' POP3).

I suspect that a part of the shutdown is related to retiring of old hardware and staff - back when it first started, you had the MictoNET service (like dropping out of Compuserve to a DOS prompt), which was discontinued when started courting online banking, and some banks were afraid it would be used to hack into accounts).

Still, it's a sad end to a landmark era.
Ray 70475,1263

Anonymous said...

Not sure about 'cyberdinosaurs' - or even that we've been 'overtaken'!

As a relative 'latecomer' (1991), I wrote IT strategies on a C64 & posted them on Ourworld :: today, I am Company Secretary of a rural 'broadband over wireless' delivery company in the UK, reaching homes that none of the majors can or will reach.

As long as the promised replacement is OK, I shall keep my Compuserve address, but I've been managing mail in Thunderbird for years.

LARRY S said...

I guess I'll add my two-cents worth. I've been 71332,2701 and since 10 September 1992. Believe it or not, I still have in my files the original letter sent to me via USPS that date "welcoming" me to CompuServe. I actually have not been able to dial-up CS classic since sometime in 2005-2006 when Microsoft did some update to Windows XP which prevents the dialer from working. I've gotten my email through Outlook POP and have maintained an account with CompuServe 2000 which I never use. I guess with my current Cable HS Internet I can also give up CS 2000, but I'm glad I won't have to give up amtrak7@compuserve which has been ingrained in my life for so long. I, too, would be interest to know the number of users left and there length of subscription. Regards, Larry

Anonymous said...

I kept my classic compuserve account alive because of the pain of trying to inform all the sites that link to mine. Now it will have to happen anyway.


JF920 said...

Guys- have any of you had premature cessation of your server access? I've been doing my via pop3 for a long time, and just can't seem to get through the last 4 days.

LARRY S said...

I get about 60 emails a day and all has been ok with mine the past few days. I checked a few seconds ago and got 7 emails last hour. Seems to working OK for me.

LARRY S said...

I realized that I may not have read your comment carefully and may have mislead you with my reply. I get my email but not through the old compuserve dialup. Mine is Outlook POP3 using HS Cable Modem ISP at home and a DSL ISP at my office. I apologize if my answer is confusing. Larry

Anonymous said...

does anyone have any suggestions how people with ourworld websites active for 12 years and rank high in google etc can make a mirror website and hold rankings?
Code / meta tags in new server etc?
CS does NOT have server tech to do php or redirect apparently!

On June 30 all searches in search engines shall give dead links!

Outpost12156 said...

I too am an old Compuserve Classic user from 1987. Inquiring minds do wonder how many of us are left on line. Like one commentator, I have never been able to use the CSI dialer once I went to XP-Pro. Was lucky to find the NT version of 4.0.2 cause the version I had been using would not load. I have been connecting from the proprietary software via a wireless access point and ATT DSL for several years now. I have tried to use Eudora or Thunderbird but while I can receive email, I can not send email. ATT is of no help. Can anyone lead the way on this? Thanks for any help.

Anonymous said...

"The average Compuserve user is deceased" or so read a recent characterization of the users of different types of e-mail systems. HA! says I. HTML limitations but no substitute for having everything local and being able to sort like the wind.

Threatened to dump it for years but travel requirements to odd places always persuaded me to keep it. Hard to argue with a service that could be a bit tempermental but was bulletproof more often than not.

Having a server belch starting a few days ago so can't download through Thunderbird, maybe virtual key interference from re-upping Veri-Sign. I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Anyway, now must finally transition for real to private 3rd party domain via cable company. So long...

70421,1002 :-(

Anonymous said...

Today the POP3 email account is not working. I hope this is temporary.

Anonymous said...

I remember using compuserve back in the days of my 2400 baud modem, command line prompts, and multiple choice text menus, all on a blazing fast 4.77 Mhz 8086 computer. Inconvenient to be sure but it sure makes one wax nostalgic. Goodbye old friend.

Anonymous said...

I have had my account since late 80s or early 90s. I forward all my Gmail accounts to it because it's so much faster. Stuck on satellite ISP and the latency plays havoc with Gmail interface.

Pop3 stopped working about a week ago for me. Tech support swears that there is no such thing as a pop3 email only password. Even the "floor manager" had never heard of such a thing!

I have reset my pop3 password (GO NPX-93) to no avail.

Same prob on several computers/operating systems/email clients so I'm quite sure it's not in my settings.

I thought it had something to do with a credit card screw up that happened around the same time but after doing some searching I'm starting to wonder if it's related to the impending shutdown.

LARRY S said...

I've commented before on this blog but was interested in the last comment regarding user's POP3 email stopped working. I am the user since 1992 and know that my POP3 email is still (as of yesterday)working--I send a file to my home computer from my office everyday. What I have noticed is that prior to the announced shut down, my daily volume of email for the past several years has been about 60 (admittedly mostly junk). That number is now down to less than 20. Any conclusions???

Capt. Fogg said...

According to their latest bulletin classic e-mail will be continued as web mail.

You can sign up at:

Anonymous said...

I have had my account with compuserve since about 1982 when my Apple 2+ was my first PC. WOW - have times changed. I still ahve my receipt for the purchase - mega bucks!

I have used CS through Outlook for a while and like several others, can always depend on getting it - where my other 'services' are soemtimes spotty.

I am truly sorry to see the end of the era. RIP - you served me well.


Anonymous said...

What a shame that such a great service is no longer.

I remember my early days (1993) with WinCIM, and first surfing the 'net using the Mosaic browser. But the forums were king... even with the slow 4800 & 9600 baud modems. Between long-distance telephone charges & CompuServe billing, my monthly costs of around $80 weren't uncommon. But damn it was fun. And life in cyberspace was simple then... no worries about viruses, SPAM, [anti-]privacy policies, or etc.

Also, the Magazine Database Plus service gave me a truly unfair advantage over other students at a particular course I attended, at least with regard to convenience. While they were falling over themselves at a dinky library with poor resources & hours, I researched & completed my reports in posh dormitory comfort, on my own schedule. Yup it cost me some dough... but it was worth every cent. Am I smug or what. :D

So long, CompuServe, thanks for the good times & memories. Too bad you couldn't have fallen into better hands than AOL (which obviously set you up to fail).

LARRY S said...

Hello all,
I would be curious to know if anyone else has successfully converted their mailbox to the new system (webmail) but more specifically also has had trouble getting the new mail to work with POP3 in Outlook 2007. Before I vent my frustrations, will await replies. Thanks! Larry

Adrian said...

Well just activated my new account so I can see all my messages in the web mail interface that are no longer getting to the old server but what is the new pop server address? Help file seems to say it should be but that just says incorrect username/password when giving it my "screen name" i.e. the bit before the @ of my address

Outpost12156 said...

Greetings again from 70741.2122
I too, still have my original letter and the CompuServe Users Guide. But, alas, after 22 years it looks like a final good-bye.

I like some of the other's of you, have noticed a distinct drop off in email volume. During the week it is 60-70, on weekends its down to 30-45 (Spammers must take the weekends off too). But as of 5/18 I only receved 28 pieces of email, and yesterday *2*!!! And I asked a couple of people (by phone) to email me, and nothing has come into my email box. So the first question is> Has Compuserve actually already shut down the propriatary email system despite the June 30th deadline (as a way to FORCE us to change sooner rather than later?

Secondly, WebMail seems to be a problem. I had an old webmail ID (non-numeric) but never used it, and for the life of me do not remember the pass word that I gave to that. I called their wherever based tech support and the guy was LESS than helpful. Oh terminally polite (Thank you, Thank you) but had to put me on hold after every question apparently to figure out what I was talking about.

The long and short of this is> I am no longer getting any email, I can't get my webmail to work, and tech support sucks (as usual). Looks like to move to another ISP.

Anonymous said...

My pop3 stopped delivering mail yesterday. I can login and issue commands but there is no mail. I tried to migrate my account. I could not login. It said that the password is invalid but I can use it to login pop3. I called and was told they are aware of a problem I opened a ticket. Today I called to check and no change. I have escalated but I don't know if that will help.

Joseph said...

To migrate your Classic e-mail to the new CompuServe Mail system:

After migrating, the webmail address is:

The POP3/IMAP/SMTP servers are:; port 110 (SSL = port 995); port 143 (SSL = port 993); port 587

Further help is available at:

TonyG said...

Yes, it is shame.

I have been 100045,2745 for years, at least 14+, and I have used it on 3 continents and from my Nokia 9000 communicator via POP3.

I noticed that although the dial-up is going on 30th June 2009, the inbound mail was swept accross straight-away on 18th May 2009 so that it was no longer possible to access it via Classic software such as 4.0.2, so I had to go to webmail or POP3.
- I was using POP3 already for incoming mail already, and using Classic 4.0.2 as my sending program.

I am glad to be able to keep my e-mail address through, so Compuserve will live on for me.

but RIP Classic dial-up.


Anonymous said...

74116,3653. Know it by heart. Was a member starting in 1984, but discontinued several years ago.

Thanks for being my reliable on-ramp to the online universe for so many years!!

Anonymous said...

I transferred a CC acct to my mom from my in-laws several years ago; it was expensive, but allowed unlimited simultaneous users. Several family members shared it, plus I could use it to connect w/ my laptop when traveling for work (at least back before wireless was prevalent...). Kinda glad its gone now though; I had to install Compuserve 3 or 4 on a Win98SE machine in order to change acct info.

Anonymous said...

111111,256 ... Yeah I worked there for a while. Going to miss the old place.

Here's to you, Dear old Vessels!

Anonymous said...

I met my wife on CB Simulator in 1985. Also made many good friends on CIS. Good-bye


Anonymous said...

I worked for and played on CSI since 1986. It was a fun ride, but I knew it wasn't going to last for long when I saw vps of the company leaving back in 98. Thanks for the employment CSI and for the fun I had on the forums. I learned a great deal working for this company and I am proud to say I am glad I worked for them.

Just like the oil companies to many chiefs and not enough indians.


Anonymous said...

From 72202,

I too still have my original welcome from over 25 years ago. I know only one other person who kept the same email address for such a long period of time. I have used Outlook to get my email for a bunch of years, and will continue to use my email address. It is too bad that one of the pioneers of the online world will no longer be there for us.

Outpost12156 said...


Well, I got my CompuServe welcome back in 1987, and I still use that 70741,2122. One reason why I never moved to CompuServe2000 was that I would have to give up that identity. I also believed that we (with that numberical ID) were less liable to be hit with spam.

However, in a couple of cases I have had my legitimate email bounced because the receiving (and in their case, sending) servers rejected the address as invalid.

But I keep it anyway. I am sorry that some mail servers are dumb, but that is the way it is in this modern world.

I worry that one of these days we will get another email telling us that the numberic email addresses will disappear in 15 days and you need to notify your correspondents. In my case that would be almost 1000. I use OE although I am not entirely (!) happy with it. As soon as I can switch to something else I will.


Karla said...

I wonder whether others are still having trouble with the switch to webmail months later. My switchover was full of problems but I finally got it set up to forward to my gmail account... however, it doesn't always work. It's now been a month since gmail was able to get any of those messages. Since the Compuserve account was my primary email from 1996 until the switch to webmail, there could be some significant email lost in that pipeline.

Anonymous said...

CompuServe Classic. I will miss you old friend you are like a soldier that did your duty well.

Anne Dougherty said...

Six years ago I was told that I had "converted" my classic account to a account and that all my e-mail would be forwarded to my new address...and it was for a while.

Little did I know that the forwarding had stopped working so I never received the notice to convert or have my numeric account die. I just found out it was closed this weekend.

And since the service I've been paying for - keeping my numeric account active with forwarding - hasn't been working for at least a year, you'd think they'd give me a refund. No, I have to write to Department L-48 in Columbus.

[sigh] Everything AOL touches turns to crap. I miss my numeric account. I had it since 1985. RIP 73467.3303

Anonymous said...

Well there you go, or not!! This is 2013 and I'm still using my compuserve via aol and with no problem at all for both my numeric and letter name. I still use the numericl if I want to be anonymous.
I started in 1989 on a 4mzh Z80 (8 bit cpu) and 1200 b/s dial up. Now running on 13.2Ghz (4x3.4) 64 bit with Fedora 18..bit of an overkill.

Rough Diamond said...

A relative newcomer in Aug 1996 and not really sure how I came across Compuserve.Made a lot of friends on there and met a few "boarders".Had a lot of fun and I miss all the people I knew on there.I probably left in the mid 2000's although i accessed my account every now and then.The registered boarders had stars by their name and the later joiners had hashes.