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problems connecting to skype and other probs!

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sarah in france

sarah in france

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this is my first time on here so please bear with me! I have a couple of questions within the same subject -
1) I have been given a laptop HP Pavillion dv6000 - it is loaded with XP Home
2) can connect to internet no problem - using WIFI connection
3) cannot connect to Skype even when it is in exceptions list in firewall - can't download it in the normal way as it says 'having trouble connecting to download server' but can download the long version and then it won't connect
4) tried to download AVAST and it blocked my connections saying 'page was refreshed while loading' but oculd connect to GMAIL. I uninstalled it and I could go onto any site i asked for.
5) I have changed the user details and password and according to the connections list, there are no other connections available (2 VPN's which i can connect to without a problem but don't all the time, just when i need to) apart from the wifi which i am on now

6) i get an error 623 every so often
7) I am worried about restoring to factory settings as I don't have a reboot disk!!!

Any help would be so much appreciated - I wanted to buy this lappy but not until it works for what i want it to do!!!! :)
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