|"the screens in the taskbar turn black."|
That should never happen and probably has nothing to do with your internet connection problem.
You probably need to trouble-shoot your XP syatem.
"...on my xp computer......"
"...my windows 98 using the splitter..."
"...I can use the 98 its just slow... "
Your info seems to indicate you're connecting to two different dial-up modems, probably on two different computers.
Do you have Win 98 and XP on the same computer?
If you don't, are the computers using the same mboard, ram, cpu, and running at the same speed?
If you have two computers, and if the Win 98 computer is slower, you're comparing apples to oranges - your comparison is invalid - Win 98 on the same computer as the above specs would NOT be slow .
If the dial-up modem has two jacks, make sure you have the line from the wall plugged into the one for LINE, not the one for PHONE. Some dial-up modems will have problems connecting to the internet if you plug that cord into the PHONE jack.
If you also have a DSL or ADSL connection at your location, if your dial-up modems connect to the same phone line as for the DSL/ADSL, you MUST use a DSL or ADSL filter in the line between the phone line and the dial-up modems.
"The service guy I talked too told me first it was becase I was using a splitter...."
If you mean a telephone line splitter you plug into a wall jack, or one you have in line between the wall jack and the two modems (if you have two) , I doubt that very much. I've been using both for years, for a line for my ADSL modem, and for my dial-up modem I use for faxing, and for my telephone near the computer.
You do need to make sure the plugs on both ends of the cord between the dial-up modem(s) and the splitter are all the way into the jack - some cheap splitters aren't good regarding that.
"....then I got told it was my phone line.
They could be right.
If the dial-up modems are different, one may work on the internet a lot better than the other one.
I'm assuming you have one computer with the above specs with XP on it, and another older slower computer with Win 98 on it.
In that case, the 98 computer may have a better hardware dial-up modem, the XP computer probably has a cheap software dial-up modem.
When you have a telephone line noise problem, a hardware dial-up modem often works much better than a cheap software dial-up modem. Even if the Win 98 computer doesn't have a hardware modem, how well a dial-up modem deals with line noise varies and the one on the Win 98 computer is probably better regarding that.
If both dial-up modems are PCI cards, try swapping the modems, or if the one in the Win 98 computer is a PCI card and the other one isn't, install the PCI card in the XP computer!
Try another cable between the splitter and the XP computer
Telephone line noise.
The cheap flat phone cable between the modem and the telephone wall outlet acts like an antenna - it picks up electric and electronic noise from it's environment.
- the noise the telephone cable picks up is directly proportional to the square of the distance from the source - e.g. twice the distance, 1/4 the strength. Have the cord located as far away as you can from possible sources of noise - e.g. unshielded speakers, flourescent lights, AC power cords, motors, fans, etc. etc.
- The shorter the cord is the better.
If it's a lot longer than 6 feet/2m or so, you can have problems with your connectio you don't have when it's shorter. In that case, if you do have connection reliability problems, you need to use twisted pair telephone cable (the type commonly used within your walls to the wall jacks) to the the connection in the nearest wall box, a connection box with a jack the cord can be plugged into, and a shorter cord with the plugs on both ends between the modem and that connection box.
- the noise can be picked by any such phone cord connected to the same phone line that's connected to the modem, so it isn't necessarily just the one plugged into the modem that is picking up the line noise.
As well as it being possible noise is being picked up by the telephone cable plugged into the modem, or other such cables at your location, if there is electric or electronic noise being picked between your location and the nearest telephone exchange, you will have internet connection problems. At the very least that reduces the max speed on the web some - if it's worse, it can cause the connection to be very poor and slow or even disconnect. If you pick up a phone on the same phone line as the dial-up modem, and you hear static or clicks or pops or a hum or another noise, you have that proplem, but on the other hand, the noise can be inaudible to humans and still be there.
You many not have the problem all the time - it may come and go.
If you suspect you have a line noise problem that is not within your location, and it seems to be always there or frequently there, try contacting your phone company to see if they can do anything about the problem (that applies even if your ISP is not the phone company - whoever owns the phone lines is who you need to contact).