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modem connection problem

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I have a friend who is unable to surf the internet which they could do the day before.
They have an ADSL broadband connection.
The computer seems connected to the net, all programs that can autoupdate mange to do so without any problems but IE and MSN are unable to log on.
We have tried using a different modem without result.
A check on the modem says that the device is connected and working properly.
Several others have looked at it and are unable to find the problem.
We have tried rebooting the system, resetting the modem and yelling at the monitor without success.
We have checked all the connections and wires, the ethernet cable and all that jazz.
Any ideas ?
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Only thing I can think of is that the LAN settings in Internet Explorer have been changed by something. Check this as follows.
1. Open IE
2. Go to 'Tools->Internet Options'
3. Click the tab labelled "Connections"
4. Click the button labelled "LAN Settings"
5. Ensure that ALL three options here are UNticked
6. Click 'OK' , click 'OK' again.
7. Now close and re-open IE
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