thanks for your quick reply, Joe1962.
I will try that, but in the meanwhile, I tell you that I have added a recompiled kernel (that I have built for my USB wi-fi card, as you can read in the link above) to my boot options in LILO and then booted from that kernel...
and you know what?
VL-HOT capabilities are back!
When I achieve a successful install of my USB wlan card (I have faith), I will do a complete clean reinstallation of VL.