I've been having the same problem. I've been using Ares for a few years now, and just recently (about a week ago), it decided it no longer wanted to connect. I did just recently jump from XP to Vista (mandatory jump due to new motherboard's limitations), but even under Vista, it handled just fine over the past few months I've had the new system. I've tried adjusting my firewall settings, my router settings, opening ports, making exceptions, and still nothing... I even tried Ares Vista's trial, but that didn't work either. Over the past week, I've tried several other p2p programs, but none of them worked as well as Ares used to. After reading some more posts similar to this, I decided to give Ares Vista one more shot. I just installed it about 15 minutes ago, and this time around, after about two minutes of the "connecting..." status, a pop-up asked me if I wanted to install a new connection file. Never having seen this before, I clicked yes, and Ares Vista instantly connected. Not having uninstalled Ares Galaxy yet (even though I know I'm supposed to before installing Ares Vista), I got curious. So, I closed Ares Vista, opened Ares Galaxy, and viola, instant "online" status. So, this very long winded response is me thinking that Ares is now trying to FORCE a membership on their open source program by limiting connection availability via software restriction. I know this isn't a "fix" to the problem, but hopefully it's a neat work around till someone else comes up with something more practical.