Just some thoughts...Have you tried a different/new sound card? They can be found at reasonable prices...CHEAP. It sounds like a faulty card, or at least one that's not supported on Windows 98. Did the current sound card come with an earlier operating system, like Win 95? Have you tried downloading and installing updated drivers for the card?
Hope this helps.
The inevitable happened, it seems, and we added a conundrum to my problem. Using Windows 98SE, and because of the hang and freeze, decided to reformat the drive. I'm later told...not a good idea, because Windows refuses to recognize older hardware, etc. I have a Creative Soundblaster sound card. My problem now is...the format went well. Reinstallation of Windows 98SE went well...several times well. The wireless card installs well and e-mail comes in and sends like it's supposed to. The problem arises when we go to install the sound card. Then, it just quits. Pages won't load, says there's an error, and it's slower than the proverbial molasses drip and never loads. It shows that it's receiving, but does nothing. We can't figure out where the conflict is. When we call our provider, they want to check the router, etc. There's nothing wrong there...evidence the perfect run before the sound card. We've been at this all week and are pulling out hair now. Any help will be greatly appreciated.