I ran into the same reinstallation problem with MSIE a while back. The browser I had was malfunctioning, not allowing me to access certain sites where I was getting a "turn on your cookies" message, even though my cookies were turned on.
I could not unintall and whenever I tried to reinstall I got a message that I had a "newer" version already...goodbye.
Finally acquired a disk for some service or other, Earthlink I think, and it had a later version of MSIE than the one on my computer and I was able to install it.
MOST of the glitches disappeared, but not all. And it seems to be getting cranky again.
Check with some place like Radio Shack, where they often have disks other than AOL for give-away. Apparently AOL is now using Netscape instead of MSIE as its underlying browser.
Come to think of it, aren't you on Earthlink/Mindspring? Don't know how you'd get a disk from them, though.