Is that Win98se with the subsequent service packs? If you don't have them installed, get them (on CD or download from the net).
I still think your problem is software related, sharon. Do you have AdAware? Get it or run it if you have it now. If you or anyone else does any significant browsing, you'll be surprised by all the spyware and malware you can collect in a week that slows down your computer. There is some very nasty spyware out there that can cripple your computer eventually. I spent a couple of weeks last summer deleting spyware and malware from a kids computer (using free software from the internet). I was at the point of giving up, but finally conquered the problem.
Online virus scan:
I used Win98 until last spring when my hard drive flat out broke, so this is a heads up to back up your recipe files, photos and anything else you don't want to lose forever.
I used Firefox with no extensions because I have always used Agent as my news reader and Eudora for mail, but didn't have the problems you seem to have in spite of running a firewall and virus protection. Have you tried turning off your virus protection to see if that's what's interfering with your browsing? Sometimes it's as simple as turning off the scan incoming mail part. At the very least, check the box that says sites can set cookies then check the box to expire them box is the word "cache", clear it.
Mom & Pop Shops musing 5195
I'm so tired of hearing about small shops that are being run out of business because of the big box stores or the chains. Customers are free to go wherever they want to...
Mozilla Thunderbird is both an email client and news reader. Personally, I don't like all in one applications... so although the newest Agent does that, I haven't upgraded it yet and if I do - I won't use that feature.
Tell your husband to check out what is running in the background. Maybe you have too many unnecessary programs running on open and they are sucking up your systems resources or the solution could be as easy as additional RAM (inexpensive).
Quite frankly, the only reason to upgrade is when you find most new software won't run on your old system. XP and all of its incarnations isn't what they'd like you to believe, so if you've really got your heart set on an upgrade - at least wait until Vista comes out. --
Practice safe eating. Always use condiments.