firefox 18 displays a blank page when a url is entered

Firefox V18 is installed on a laptop running Windows XP, & has suddenly stopped working, after working ok since being installed. It now displays a blank page when you click on the homepage icon, plus entering a url brings up the word connecting, in the tab, but then displays a blank page with the words new tab in the tab at the top of the page. IE works ok, as does a portableapps copy of firefox 3.5.17.

I have tried re-installing V18.0.1, with no success, I have even tried uninstalling firefox, deleting all remaining folders & running a registry cleaner to see if their was anything causing the install to fail. Firefox still fails to work after all this.

The laptop has been kept uptodate with regards to upgrades, & I have tried doing a system restore to earlier breakpoints, but with no success. Any ideas? TIA

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