open a cmd box from run. use tracert command and type in the "www.------.com" URL and see what DNS reports as it's IP address. It might even report 127.*.*.* or similar because your HOSTS file is compromised. If so, it's clear text, search it out and fix it. If you get a valid IP address, enter than in the browser's URL instead and see if you can then go to the site. If not, then you probably have other malware at work. If no malware, then reload IE8 from an installation file on top of itself.
I am running Windows XP (SP2) w/ Internet Explorer 8.0 (Limited to IE8 on Win XP). System is/has been performing excellent w/o issues for years, until probably some 6-8 weeks ago.
Now experiencing problem where Internet Explorer fails to go to 'numerous' popular/common web sites that it has always accessed for years, even if you copy-paste the specific multi-character 'Internet addresses' (URL's) directly into the IE address bar. --It just hangs up, "waiting for the web sites".
NOTE: If you copy-paste any/all of these same URL's into the Firefox address bar, it goes there immediately.
I'm not able to move up to Win (SP3), for various hardware/software reasons, and would like to delay any thoughts of a complete whole system upgrade until the new Windows 10 is released/stable (probably in a few months, etc).
So would really appreciate it if anyone has any thoughts/suggestions on 'why' my IE8 is now experiencing problems, and/or what steps I might take to get it going again.
Dan D. in NJ