Ok guys... IMHO m$ has fubared something here...

2 days ago XP SP1 irc worked fine.

Yesterday I did a fresh install with SP2. Guess what? IRC doesnt work... I have heard of this issue with a couple other people. Here is the error:

* Connecting to irc.gamesurge.net (6667)
* Unable to connect to server (Software caused connection abort)

This happens imeadiately after typing the command to join ALL irc servers. I have tried to screw around with the Firewall settings in XP but it does not seem to matter.

Things i have tried:
1) Turning on the firewall and allowing port 6667 and 6668.
no dice
2) Turning off the firewall
No dice
3) Turning off 2 key services:
-Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
-Security Center
No dice

I have a cisco 2514 that i am using and a Cisco PIX 501 Firewall. Nothing has changed on either one of these devices therefore i doubt altering these pieces of equipment will prove useful. Ideas? Questions? Comments? Concerns? Philosophical entreaties?