What is this file supposed to be? I think it’s some kind of spyware program but I am wondering if it would potentially prevent a computer running Win98 from loading web pages and using AIM. The reason I ask is b/c someone I know deleted that file and now can’t use internet or AIM.

It’s Gator adware/spyware. Remove at your leisure: [link].

If your 'net isn’t working, try the following :

First, check your IP. Go to Start/Run and type : winipcfg

If it shows you or or similar, then you aren’t getting a connection to the 'net. Try Release All, then Renew All.

Go to Internet Explorer/Tools/Internet Options/Connections/LAN Settings. Make sure no incorrect information (e.g. proxy server) is configured there. Set it to Automatically Detect.

If that doesn’t help, go to Start/Settings/Control Panel/Network.

Then delete all the entries you see there (make sure you note down the entries you see there). Reboot.

Reinstall Network Adapters. Reinstall TCP/IP Protocol.

I’ll note that removing GAIN will cause any GAIN-supported applications to fail. Though, this shouldn’t affect internet accessibility, unless your friend uses an ad-supported ISP, such as NetZero/Juno.

Next time you’re unsure of what a Start Up or Registry Entry (Run/Run Services/etc) means/does, take a look at this exhaustive listing :

Then either manually delete unwanted entries, or download Ashampoo WinOptimizer Suite.