Does this sound familiar?
OE, when starting, tells me there is no Internet Connection and "do I want to work offline or try again?". This is only a nuisance since clicking try again solves the problem. However IE seems less stable shutting down more often and I am having trouble with the Toontown installer (IE flashplayer based) updating and re-installing the client files.
This is on "ME" and I do not have the problem on my "98". The OS (incl. OE and IE), antivirus, and 2wire firewall are all up to date. Video and motherboard drivers where updated about 3 months ago.