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I am asuming you are using Windows Mail or Outlook, and my first guess would be to check with the email address provider if they made any changes to the account setup. If nothing is changed there, you might want to check with your Internet provider if they made any changes.
This problem usually occurs if DNS addresses are not set-up correctly. DNS addresses are IP addresses of DNS servers which translates your queries to IP addresses. Like, when you enter www.google.com in your browser, computer sends this to DNS server, then DNS server gives back information of the address of the site you're trying to visit. Since your computer does not know where DNS server is, it cannot display your web page. Some programs like Messenger and Skype work by quering exact addresses (since they are made to connect to single database on Internet), and that's the reason they are connected to Internet.
Ask your Internet provider for DNS addresses.
Open Start menu and then Control Panel.
Open Network Connections.
Right-click the connection you are using to connect to Internet, and click Properties.
From the item list, choose Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
Click Use the following DNS server addresses.
Enter given addresses.
Click OK and then Close.
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Have you tried a virus scan yet? Avira Personal Edition is a good free one. If all else fails back up everything important. Then do an O/S re-install with a full format. Just remember if you do download ALL your Laptops Drivers from the makers website BEFORE you format.