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Can't connect to a secure website - ie7 or firefox...

 This is a stumper... helping someone that can't get into any secure site at all.
   I've tried an "everything including the kitchen sink" approach, including:
  Winsock reset utilities
  Reset IE to default  
 CCleaner - let it clean everything, including cookies
 Resetting DSL modem and router, and trying both on a separate machine - my laptop - which logged in just fine.
 I've updated the NIC card drivers, too.
I ran the Symantec Removal tool, in an attempt to get rid of any possible lingering traces of Norton Firewall.
 In IE,  I made sure SSL 2.0 and 3.0 were checked.
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3 Solutions
Any errors?

CHeck the system time and date... if the date is wrong, too far behind or too far ahead the security certificates will be seen as expired.
lowplainsdrifterAuthor Commented:
Already checked date and time... and just "internet explorer cannot display the webpage" errors when I try to "sign in" to amazon.com, for instance.
lowplainsdrifterAuthor Commented:
Interestingly, when I run Google Chrome Setup, it tries to connect to a Google server to fetch the rest of it, but it times out, claiming a "connection problem."
Nothing ever in the clear!

This technical paper will help you implement VMware’s VM encryption as well as implement Veeam encryption which together will achieve the nothing ever in the clear goal. If a bad guy steals VMs, backups or traffic they get nothing.

try going to start - run - type in cmd and enter

netsh int ip reset logfile.txt

This will rebuild your tcp/ip stack if it was corrupted ddo to adware or malware scans being a bit too aggresive...

its outlined in this microsoft page

lowplainsdrifterAuthor Commented:
Already tried that... also, Spybot Search And Destroy won't update... there's a blockage or bottleneck in here somewhere....
I did find this also...

1. Click Start, and then click Run.

2. In the Open box, type one of the following
commands, and then click OK

regsvr32 softpub.dll
regsvr32 wintrust.dll
regsvr32 initpki.dll
regsvr32 dssenh.dll
regsvr32 rsaenh.dll
regsvr32 gpkcsp.dll
regsvr32 sccbase.dll
regsvr32 slbcsp.dll
regsvr32 cryptdlg.dll

4. Click OK when you receive the message that says
DllRegisterServer in FileName succeeded.

5. Repeat for each command line listed above
lowplainsdrifterAuthor Commented:
Already tried that, too... :(
try using firefox and do this -

goto tools - options - advanced - click the encrytion tab - then validation button -then uncheck use the online certificate staus protocol - click ok, click ok - restart firefox and try a secure site...

lowplainsdrifter--Perhaps of help
Or you could try running IE without add-ons.  Start|All Programs|Accessories|System Tools|Internet Explorer (no add-ons)
Sounds to me like firewall(s) are blocking HTTPS sites....  Try DISABLING ALL firewalls (norton, mcafee, especially windows, etc) and try again.  Also, you say you are having the same problem with Firefox?
Verify the hardware firewall/router are not blocking port 443.
Check for malware - run a full spyware & AV scan.
Test your browser(s) to confirm they are able to access secure sites (http://www.verisign.com/advisor/check.html).
lowplainsdrifterAuthor Commented:
Last three ideas sound good... I'm going to try them on Thursday, when I see this friend again that I'm helping.

Thanks for everyone's help/ideas so far...
MTU, Partial Loss of Internet Connection, and Performance

MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) is the largest packet a network device transmits. The best MTU setting is often just the default value. MTU is sometimes presented as something that can be easily changed to improve performance, but in practice this may cause problems. Leave MTU unchanged unless:

   1. You have problems connecting to your ISP, or other Internet service, and either the technical support of the ISP recommends changing MTU. These may require an MTU change:

          * A secure Web site that won't open, or only displays part of a Web page
          * Yahoo email
          * MSN
          * AOL's DSL service

   2. You use VPN, and have severe performance problems.
   3. You used a program to "optimize" MTU for performance reasons, and now you have connectivity or performance problems.

    * An easy solution to most problems is to change MTU to 1400.
    * If you are willing to experiment, gradually reduce MTU as described in "Details of MTU", below.

How to Change a Computer's MTU

Note: If you change MTU on one computer, change it on your other computers, switches, and routers, as well. Instructions for changing MTU on other NETGEAR devices is found in the Reference Manuals, in the sections explaining Advanced Features.

The third party Dr. TCP software can be used to change the MTU setting.

   1. Download it from this link, choosing the zip file or the exe file at the top of the page.
   2. Run the utility.
   3. In the Adapter Settings pull down, select the Ethernet driver and adapter used to connect with the network.
   4. In the MTU box, type the MTU size you are trying.
   5. Click in any other box, without changing the data there.
   6. Click Save.
   7. Click Exit.
   8. Restart the computer.

Details About MTU

A packet sent to a device larger than its MTU is broken into pieces. Ideally, MTU would be set to the same  large  value on all your computers, routers and switches, as well as on all the parts of the Internet that you access. But you cannot control the MTU on the Internet, and in practice the optimum MTU size on your LAN is related to your hardware, software, wireless interference, etc.
lowplainsdrifter--When you click IE Help|About Internet Explorer, what do you see on the Cipher Strength line?  
This follows up on my post above where I now see that two links have run together.  They should be

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