AOL TW and XP? No problem.

NEW YORK — Barry Schuler, chief executive of AOL Time Warner Inc.’s America Online unit, expressed optimism that consumers won’t have trouble gaining access to AOL’s online service on Microsoft Corp.’s upcoming Windows XP operating system.

In recent weeks, AOL (AOL) and other critics have complained about Microsoft’s tentative plan to exclude desktop icons from the start screen on Windows XP. The concern is that consumers will have a difficult time finding third-party services. Microsoft (MSFT) has said it wants to reduce clutter on PC screens.

However, Mr. Schuler played down the concern when he met with investors and reporters after a presentation at CIBC World Market’s communications conference here Tuesday.

“We will solve this problem,” Mr. Schuler said. “Consumers will be able to get AOL. It’ll work on XP.”

He also noted that AOL doesn’t rely as heavily on Windows for adding new subscribers as it did in the past. Still, Microsoft “has a big opportunity to work with us on the rollout of XP,” he said.