Ok, I've been round and round with this, plus it may have been caused by a virus - TrojanhorseDropper.Generic7.agyg.
The virus has been removed, but the antivirus program did not clean up the damage.
IE will time-out when attempting to load Hotmail, msn.com, microsoft.com or login.live.com. All other sites will load normally. This only happens on one machine. (VISTA). There were similar questions on this site, but limited details.
This problem appears to be a security issue, but I can not for the life of me locate where the issue is located. I even TEMPORARILY shut off the firewall, to no avail. Nothing in the eventviewer log is of use. I even created a different user account on that machine, with the same results. I am sure that the virus made some registry entries to create this issue but can't locate them.
My last resort it to re-install Windows. Before I do this, I thought I'd ask if anyone has some feedback.