printer software phoning home?
I was reading through all of this and tried netstat for the 1st time.
reason: I was wondering why my new printer software would try to connect to the internet each time I opend wordpad for example.
pressing ctrl+alt+del there was a "lexpps" program showing up in the task manager (I got a lexmark printer..).
to get to the point: with netstat I realized that on startup of win98 no port was listening but as soon as I opened word or wordpad it came to listen on tcp 135, 1025, 1028 and udp 1028!
after kicking out this mysterious "lexpps" with the taskmanager it still listened to tcp ports 135 & 1025 until restart.