After browsing through some other CNET forums, I downloaded winsockxpfix.exe from majorgeeks.com, and after running the program and restarting my system everything seems to be back to normal now. Something in my winsock/TCP settings must have gotten corrupted somehow.
I would still appreciate any speculation as to what the problem might have been and what might have caused it. I've never had any serious virus or spyware infestation. I use MS AntiSpyware beta's active protection as well as Spybot's TeaTimer active protection, and I scan regularly with these programs, Ad-Aware SE, McAfee VirusScan, and Panda's web-based virus/spyware scanner. On a few occasions, I've detected and removed a small piece or two of spyware/adware, but I've never had a big problem. Thanks in advance for your input.
For the first time in a while, I've got a computer problem that's got me completely stumped. Up until a couple of months ago, I frequently used the secure online web site of my financial institution to check on my home mortgage account. One day, however, I received a "server not found" error message in IE after entering my username and password. After this went on for a week or two, I attempted using other browsers (Opera, Firefox) with the same results. I tried tweaking all of my internet settings for things such as cookies, SSL, trusted/restricted sites, and I even tried disabling all of my antivirus, antispyware, and firewall software...still no help. The bank's tech support line was no help, either.
Finally, I tried accessing my account from another PC and was able to log on immediately with no problems. Does anyone have a clue as to what's wrong with my PC? At this point, I'm just about resigned to backing up my system and installing a fresh version of XP. I like to think that I'm a pretty tech-savvy person, so it's really driving me up the wall that I can't figure this one out. For reference, here's my system info:
Windows XP Home Edition, w/ SP2 (and all of the latest updates)
512MB PC3200 RAM
ATI X800XL AGP Graphics