Freaky web browser issue (Please help)

I recently had a VERY freaky issue occur with Firefox on my laptop. For some reason it will no longer open ANY websites and says:

Unable to connect

Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at

* The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few

* If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer's network

* If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure
that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.

The OS my laptop is Windows 7 64 bit

so far I have uninstalled/reinstalled Firefox and even reset the browser to defaults. It still wont open ANY sites. I thought maybe it was an issue with my network but the same thing happened when connecting to the internet at a friends house. Strangely enough Internet Explorer 8 will still open websites normally BUT now GOOGLE Chrome is giving me the same error msg.... Does anyone have any clue as to what might be causing this?

(Side note) I have also run a complete Virus scan and there are no infections on the computer + all other computers in the home can still use Firefox and Chrome normally

ANY advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated
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  1. Sounds like you either have malware, or the browsers are set to run through a proxy server.

    First, check the internet options-->network settings to make sure it's not set to run through a proxy.

    If it's not, run through the malware guide in my signature.
  2. The TCP/IP stack Winsock settings in Windows Vista may get corrupted, causing errors and problems with Internet connectivity. Corrupt Winsock or Windows sockets configuration can be due to a lot of reasons such as installation of a networking software, or due to virus, trojan or malware infection, or sometime even due to disinfection of spyware by security software.

    When Winsock is corrupted, the networking errors that you may face include unable to surf the Internet with “Page cannot be displayed” error message in Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome even though the DSL/ADSL/cable Internet connection is connected. Sometimes, Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service is terminated as well.

    To repair and reset the Windows Vista

    1. Click on Start button.
    2. Type Cmd in the Start Search text box.
    3. Press Ctrl-Shift-Enter keyboard shortcut to run Command Prompt as Administrator. To allow elevation request.
    4. Type netsh winsock reset in the Command Prompt shell, and then press the Enter key.
    5. Restart the computer.

    You can also refer to the microsoft link here:
  3. Well I discovered the cause of the issue. After the last update to Mcafee Antivirus the built in Firewall decided it would block Chrome and Firefox for no reason. I disabled that piece of crap and just like that Google chrome and Firefox work again... sometimes the most obvious solution is the correct one

    anyway thanks for the help people
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