Open Internet Explorer, click the tools pulldown, choose "Manage Add-Ons". Find "Ad-Aware Security Toolbar" in the list, and highlight it, then click the Disable button. Close the management window, restart Internet Explorer, and see if you still have problems. If not, then the issue was indeed Ad-Aware.
As you pointed out, the problem isn't just you, and appears to have much to do with Ad-Aware itself.
Let me know how it turns out.