Before you go out and buy a new modem, try checking your COM port. That was my problem.
I had this problem just yesterday after installing a new modem. I too have the horrible inconvenience of being stuck with dial-up, and my parents pay for AOL (note : I live with my parents, but I'm 20 years old with a fair amount of computer knowledge only staying here while I'm in college...not some young kid who doesn't know what he's talking about...just wanted to make that clear
ON TO THE PROBLEM
**Instructions based on WINDOWS XP SP2**
What you need to do is 1. Uninstall/Reinstall the Modem Driver 2. Delete Your Dial-up Location(s) 3. Create New Dial-up Locations
1. Uninstall/Reinstall the Modem Driver
a. From device manager, expand "Modems".
b. Right click on your modem (mine is a Motorola SM56 Speakerphone Modem---for those that are wondering) and click Properties.
c. Open the Driver tab.
d. Click uninstall. follow prompts.
e. Reinstall the driver via disc/internet download/etc...
f. From your modem's Properties, select the Advanced tab.
g. Click Advanced Port Settings.
h. In the bottom left, select a port that is not in use (a port is set by default upon installation, but I prefer to select the lowest number that is not in use...mine is at COM2) and remember that COM port.
2. Delete Your Dial-up Locations
a. Go to start > All Programs > America Online > AOL System Information.
b. Open the Connectivity tab.
c. Click Reset Locations. Follow Prompts.
3. Create New Dial-up Locations
a. From the Connectivity tab of AOL System Information, click Create New Dial-up Locations.
b. Click Advanced Settings in the bottom left, and select the Modems tab.
c. Click Find Modem to automatically detect your modem. If it doesn't detect your modem, click Add to select your modem manually. Make sure you set the COM port to the one designated for your modem.
d. Click OK. Click Close.
e. To the left, Click Add under Dial-up Locations.
f. Follow the prompts and insert your information.
That should take care of it. Connect as you normally would and enjoy.
If this helps anyone, please email me at PearlDrummerALK3@aol.com
and let me know.