Can anyone here help me fix a Win98se startup problem?

I keep my OS “lean and clean”, and everything was quite fine until just a few weeks ago when I replaced my dialup with DSL and ended up deleting my user000.pwl file because the OS would not accept my previously-set user password for either automatic or manual network login. Since then, my OS commonly (but not always) locks up just a second or so after the automatic login appears to have completed. Sometimes the system will then come all the way up after an Alt-Ctrl-Del restart, but sometimes it takes several restarts before it continues past login. I have tried booting with the DSL modem off and with it on, and that does not seem to consistently make any real difference.

Does anyone here know what might be (or likely is) wrong?

Thank you!