unable to open yahoo mail

i am unable to open yahoo! mail for no apparent reason, the problem only happens with this machine, the others i've used worked fine. also, i'm unable to check for updates (windows, firefox, etc.) when i click on the icon, the machine acts as if it's loading the page but, nothing happens until the "cannot display page" page opens which mentions "avast web proxy" there were no changes made prior to problems. i made some changes when it started screwing up but, since it didn't help i put them back like they were. i use XP pro with firefox as my browser (ver. 1.0.5) i did delete firefox and re-install it but that didn't work either. problem is present when using IE as well. i found this this in java but don't know if it's relevent:

Warning: The stylesheet hypertext transfer protocol://my.yahoo.com/ was loaded as CSS even though its MIME type, "text/html", is not "text/css".

can anyone shed some light on my delima? i've spent almost two weeks trying to sort this out and have reached the end of my rope. the next step is to haul this machine out to the woods, pump a few rounds into it and find a less infuriating passtime.

thanx.
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