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click the "messenger" menu and select "connection preferences" Select "Firewall with no proxies" click "Apply" you should see a message asking you to sign in again click "oK" info found in yahoo help here is the link http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/messenger/messenger9/messenger/mstanoconnect.html
it sounds like you have a corrupted operating system or an infection, make sure you download your windows updates, do a full virus scan with counterspy from www.counterspy.com download www.ccleaner.com make sure it's ccleaner, also re download messenger from http://messenger.yahoo.com the current version should be 188.8.131.522 if that doesn't help hold windows key then push r type in chkdsk c:/f/r on xp, if vista type cmd into the search bar right click it and run as administrator then type chkdsk c:/f/r that will fix the corruption on your hard drive for the most part. you'll probably still need to re download messenger again.