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MSN and MSN messenger problems

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I started using Verizon DSL and MSN last Dec and had problems with mail from the get go. The connection itself is fine as witnessed by the speed of regular web pages loading, but whenever I would click on the Mail button at the top of the screen to check my email or write one things would slow to a crawl. I mean much slower than even dial up!

At some point I think I fixed it by uninstalling messenger and then reinstalling it, but now I can't remember what I did... it worked great for about 3 months and now I've done something trying to fix something else and the problem is back.

When clicking on Mail it opens with the Inbox but loads painfully slow, if I try to empty the trash mail folder it also takes forever (4-5 minutes) to empty, if I try to write an email the address book takes forever (1-2 min) to load...
Then when I'm done and close MSN, the MSN screen closes, but the MSN msngr icon on the bottom toolbar does not, when I click on it it shows me as still logged on...I usually have to Ctrl/ALt/Del to get the (is task manager?) but then it says that MSN is not responding...not what I expected that MSN msnger is not responding...?
I've tried again uninstalling and reinstalling both msn and messenger, the microsoft website is of no use here either that I can find...PLEASE HELP!
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