It sounds like you deleted some important Windows files which caused the problem with your connection. That's why running Windows 98 setup fixed the issue. Netzero assumes that you don't have a damaged computer when they suggest their settings. I've used the general Netzero instructions on a few different computers and they seem to work fine.
Hope this helps.
It's the kind of thing that throws some newbies, such as me, for a loop and overly complicates my computer and my life.
I was connecting just fine to NetZero. But I screwed up something and could no longer connect. I went to NetZero's offline help page and followed its directions to change varios settings. Still couldn't connect till I corrected the real problem by running Windows 98 setup. My point: why does NetZero tell me I need certain settings when I was connecting fine with other settings? I find this same scenario to be the case from time to time with other programs. Ok, I feel better now. grandpaw