Thanks very much for your detailed reply, this is what I needed. I apologize for my frustration level yesterday, which was very high. I shouldn't have lashed out.
Now to productive matters. Yes the identical "users" table was added to my preexisting table and I did a mysql dump to get the thing imported intact to my server. My first question is, should I have not done this? Should I have instead maintained your Users database as a separate entity and should I delete the duplicate Users table from my membership db? I AM able to connect to my db with no problems using the u/p provided by my hosting service.
The two different connections files have indeed caused some additional confusion - I wasn't sure which one the files should be pointing to. So thanks for clearing that up. They do indeed use different variable names, which my hosting service tech support pointed out, so I thought the issue was that I should instead be pointing to this one.
Every time I have followed the tutorial and tried to set a password for root in my localhost.php file, I do a test and cannot connect, either to mysqladmin (get an error msg in the browser) or through the test button in Dreamweaver. I cannot figure out what is causing this. Will try again. I have followed the tutorial for setting up the globals file and I believe that is set up correctly.
Thanks again for your help; will post back.