Thanks for this, the internet options are ok, set to automatically detect. I'll give the reset option ago as soon as I can. My brother called me today to say that his wife's laptop is starting to show the same symtoms...it appears he sent her some emails he'd received just before this happened originally.. I think this probably points to a virus within the emails.
I'll let you know how I get on.. it maybe a day or so as I brought his desktop home with me and have yet to set it up. Thanks Al