internet connected but browsers won't work

  v8 13:54 01 Feb 2009

hi - got a prob with a laptop (brother's girlfriend's daughter's - long story lol). will connect to the internet (will ping ok - pinged ip address and click here - both fine) but neither ie7 or firefox will connect - ie7 states "cannot display webpage", firefox states "connection interrupted. the document contains no data. the network link was interrupted while negotiating a connection. please try again"
windows live messenger works fine and can talk to others.
tried running winsock xp fix 1.2 to no avail.
tried disabling antivirus and firewall, no difference.
done virus scan with avg - no probs, tried loading spybot but won't run?
comp is: celeron m 420 1.60GHz, 512 RAM, xp home sp3
prob started 3 or 4 days ago - nothing changed (programs added or removed), no probs before that. apparently they were googling avg to get the latest version, but each time the tab at the top changed to "jump" with a picture of a folder with the corner folded down, and they were diverted to another webpage (she can't remember which, but it wasn't grisoft or any other avg download site)
any help appreciated, thanks in advance

  brundle 13:57 01 Feb 2009

Run the Internet Connection Wizard. And use Avast or Antivir instead of AVG. The free version lacks rootkit protection, and if there's anything you want to keep off a machine, it's rootkits.

Start the machine in safe mode or using Last Known Good Configuration; click here . Disconnect machine from the internet.
Download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware ( click here ) and latest definitions ( click here ), burn to CD or put on a flashdrve. Run the installer on the problem machine but choose not run the actual program immediately. Run the mbam-rules.exe file to update the definitions. Then run a full scan with Anti-Malware. Yuu can download SuperAntispyware and its definitions too if you'd like to scan with both. File; click here
Definitions; click here

  v8 19:34 01 Feb 2009

thanks for the reply. tried your suggestions - ran internet connection wizard (said success); tried last known good configuration - no difference; got Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and SuperAntispyware - managed to get the first installed on the laptop but it won't run (double click on it and the egg timer comes on for a few seconds then nothing - task manager shows no applications running but does have mbam.exe showing under the processes tab), can't even get second installed - double click, select run, then get the microsoft "encountered an error" box. would have thought it was a corrupted installer but it will install on my comp without a prob (tried putting it on laptop via dvd, running it straight from the dvd, and also via a crossover cable from my comp - same result each time). starting to think it may be a re-format job, but could really do without that!! any other suggestions would be gratefully received. thanks again

  woodchip 19:43 01 Feb 2009

I would say you are being locked out with a Program like a Firewall May be Windows Firewall or some other

  brundle 21:20 01 Feb 2009

I don't agree with that, unless the firewall is using an Intrusion Detection or HIPS system

Rename both installer files to something else and try installation again. There is a bit of a bug in Anti-malware where it freezes during scans but if it's hanging before you even get that far something else is wrong.
Some programs can be made to work if you install them on a working machine and copy their entire Program Files folder across to a flash drive and run that on the problem machine. Not all programs will work this way, and it's a good idea to actually install the program properly on the machine in question when any nasties have been cleaned up to ensure the registry entries that the program might add are pointed to the correct folder.

  v8 00:47 02 Feb 2009

cheers brundle - renamed SuperAntispyware (to antispyware) and got it loaded - had to use the alternate start to get it running, but run it did! found 280-something entries and when fixed, ie7 and firefox both connected to the internet again - noticed that one of the entries was some browser hijacker - presume that may have been the problem. thanks again for your time, much appreciated.

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