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SOME websites will not open in FF 3 OR IE8

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:) This is driving me nuts! Suddenly a few days ago, I was unable to open certain websites on either Firefox 3.5 or IE 8. I'm running XP Pro on my laptop and the puzzling element here is that the majority of sites are fine. All my FF bookmarks open and, for example Yahoo Sports will open, but ESPN.com will not. Connection either times out or I get the dreaded The connection was reset-The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading. There are numerous similar examples, but no trend or pattern is apparent as to which sites will open and which will not--but it's always the same sites that time out.

I have reset Firefox (reset user preferences to default), disabled all my add-ons, and temporarily disabled my antivirus program (Avast). I've confirmed Firefox is an exception on the Windows Firewall--all to no avail. I've run Malwarebytes, Spybot and Adaware with no malware found. I'm out of ideas!

I've seen and attempted a number of fixes from numerous forums, with no joy. Can anyone assist?

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