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weird XP networking issue

I have a simple home network consisting of two XP Professional PCs connecting to a linksys broadband router/switch.  Up until a couple of weeks ago, both were working fine.  All of a sudden, I started getting some weird behavior from my machine.  A couple of things I noticed include that CuteFTP cannot init any kind of FTP connection; nothing is entered into the connection log - it just hangs.  Also, my Cisco VPN Client will no longer connect to my work VPN, even though it used to just fine.  Note that I can still make FTP connections through IE and Dreamweaver MX.  This all happened around the time I installed Homesite+ from Macromedia, but then I installed and it didn't fix it, so I'm not sure if that is related or not.

I am pretty good with Windows networking, and have been unable to troubleshoot this at all.  Every time I have some time I look at things again to see if I can figure something out.  A couple of days ago, I noticed a weird object in the Network Connections folder of the problem machine.  Some sort of "Internet Connection" object of type "Internet Gateway".

Here is a screenshot of that folder and the weird object:
http://www.coffeegeek.net/netcon_before.gif

That object is there when I boot up the computer.  But here is where it gets really weird.  If I just keep that window open for some time, eventually the object just *disappears*.  No apparent reason.  I even saw it reappear once, but I can't seem to duplicate that.

Another screenshot to prove it disappears and I'm not going crazy:
http://www.coffeegeek.net/netcon_after.gif

Okay, but then it gets even *weirder*.  If I disable my Local Area Connection, the object disappears.  But when I reenable, it reappears.  During this time, the other computer can connect to the Internet just fine.  But, if I disable *just* the Internet Connection object, the other computer's Internet goes down.  This computer, through all indications, is not using internet connection sharing with the other computer.  In fact, this second computer works when my computer is off, but not when my computer is on with this object disabled.

XP Firewall is disabled on both computers.  My computer is running Sygate Personal Firewall, but symptoms are the same with and without that running.

Netstat results:
http://www.coffeegeek.net/netstat.txt

Note that I probably have a lot of ports open because I have Oracle Personal Server installed on the machine for a database class that I am taking.

Ipconfig results:
http://www.coffeegeek.net/ipconfig.txt

See also:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/WinNT_Networking/Q_20942624.html
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/WinNT_Networking/Q_20929660.html

Both posts are related to this problem.  They contain additional information but no solution that has worked thus far.

I am so confused at this point, I'm about ready to wipe the whole OS.  However, this would be a huge pain that I'd like to avoid.  Is there a way I can tear out XP's Internet Connection settings, and just have it reset to default, which was working for me?  Has anyone seen this problem and know how to fix?

Let me know what more information I can give you that may help troubleshoot.
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newstandard
Asked:
newstandard
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2 Solutions
 
newstandardAuthor Commented:
Here is the property windows of that weird connection object:
http://www.coffeegeek.net/intcon_properties.gif
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pseudocyberCommented:
The weird object is a firewire connection - IEEE 1394.
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pseudocyberCommented:
Sorry, wrong thing.  It seems to me that ICS is in fact up and running.
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lrmooreCommented:
Have you tried removing the firewire connection in hardware manager?
Must be some inside joke at Microsoft. Whenever you run the network wizard, this thing shows up and best bet is to delete it.
Also in hardware manager, go to View/show hidden devices and see if there are any other network adapters showing up.
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newstandardAuthor Commented:
i will delete the firewire conneciton when i get home, but i'm pretty sure it is unrelated.  as far as I can tell, ICS is completely disabled.  i will look again in the Hardware Mgr, but there was nothing weird in it when I looked last week, if memory serves.
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newstandardAuthor Commented:
the Delete option on the firewire connection is grayed out, but when i disable it there is no change
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newstandardAuthor Commented:
guess i'll never solve this one - i'll just reinstall my OS at some point.  thanks for the help.
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