FWIW, here's my two cents, all ideas from Wilders' forums :
1. Last 2 years use of software firewalls became very popular -now many antivirus players have added firewalls into their "suites". IMO best suites are : AVIRA, ESET, KasperskyIS (in increasing order of system impact). NortonIS 2009(now in beta) when released may also be a contender.
2. This year's fashion is HIPS (Host Intrusion Protection System) - many users adopted HIPS in various forms (Online Armor, Defense Wall, Geswall, SSM-System Safety Monitor, DriveSentry ,Threatfire etc) apart from antivirus/ firewal combos. HIPS rely less on daily updates/signatures and more on a whitelist approach, if my understanding is right.
3. In fact a compatible HIPS(DefenseWall, Online Armor etc) + light Antivirus (Avira or Eset) may have less system impact & be more proactive than an AV+firewall combo. For XP : it maybe worth to add a software firewall or use LUA(limited user account) + SRP (Software restriction policy) to "harden" systems. For Vista a HIPS does not seem critical (as yet), also its inbuilt firewall is quite okay.
Some users on Wilders say they stopped using realtime AV's altogether- relying on HIPS alone or with LUA/SRP . They use online AV services like Jotti,Virustotal etc to checkout suspect files reported by their HIPS .
Useful links on LUA & SRP: http://www.wildersse...wthread.php?t=200772 http://www.mechbgon.com/srp/
4. Spywares: No AV product has 100% or even 90% removal for the huge variety of spywares/trojans infesting the net. I recommend two specific antisypware products to run on demand & which shouldn't conflict wth AVs(Avira or Eset).
- SAS - Superantispyware.com
- MBAM - Malwarebytes.com
5. Special infections may call for custom fixes like SmithfraudFix, Vundofix, Combofix, SDFix, etc.
Running a HijackThis scan peridocially can help to locate suspects on your system with advice from experts at specialised forums like spyware warrior, bleepingconputer, castlecops, etc.