I am having trouble accessing search engines from firefox. If I type the actual address (http://74.........) it works fine but if I type google.com, Yahoo, msn, etc it always fails to connect. any ideas please?
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Make sure any proxy's are turned off. Make sure your DNS is running properly. If you start a command prompt and type nslookup google.com you should see the correct IP address for google. You might also want to check your hosts file and make sure there are no bogus entries in it.
In XP, it's in c:\windows\system32. Not sure where it's at in win7. It's ok to have additional entries in there as long as they point to valid names/ip's. You can always back it up and then put a default copy of the hosts file in place to see if it makes a difference.