2) I use Ad Muncher for ad/banner blocking. Nothing beats it at all. It's super fast, super lightweight, and super effective. I will always keep this. So that means I don't need any other banner-blocking program, including the one in kaspersky.
I've learned to ignore web ads most of the time, but I do use Adblock Plus in Firefox. With an increasing frequency it blocks legitimate content images though. (I've seen it block book cover images on Amazon, for example). If this holds up, I'll have to drop it eventually.
3) For spam, I use AntiSpamSniper for the Bat. Again, nothing beats it for me. So I don't need Kasperky's anti-spam module.
Same here. I have the Pro version, which learns friendly addresses as you reply to email. Overall it does a very good job detecting spam, with a minuscule number of false positives.
4) Malware. I'm pretty sure there are better anti-malware alternatives than Kasperksy's. Maybe Mamutu is one of them. The only thing I'm confused about is what is malware and what is a virus? I don't get that.
Seeing as we have the same knowledge gap here, one of us should post a question at Wilder's
5) Firewall. I used to use Outpost before I got the IS suite for Kaspersky. I'd be interested in using a standalone firewall once again if it proved to play well with other security software and was fast/lightweight. Is Outpost still good for that? What are other options?
Every firewall I tried eventually became bloated, sluggish and unstable. I started with Zone Alarm a long time ago, moved to Kerio, tried a number of other options, finally settled for Outpost. I used Outpost from 2004 to 2007. I liked the interface, but for years it was plagued with known issues, which could only be fixed by manually tweaking some config file or could not be fixed at all. Always used to have a hard time getting FTP clients to work with Outpost. Since version 4 it too got bloated, sluggish and unstable on my system, it went out the window soon after.
When I changed my ISP and got a dynamic IP address behind a router, I dropped firewalls altogether. I do allow Windows Firewall to run; it pops up very infrequently (for Total Commander's FTP connection, once), I click Allow and it won't bother me anymore. Sometimes I would still like to have egress control, because I hate it when apps send info home behind my back, as plenty of installers do these days for instance, but I'm not going to let a a heap of bloat on my system just for that. I don't think there is a non-bloated, fast and lean firewall to be found anymore.
Meanwhile, running MSE, I'm seeing unusual CPU spikes and brief little freezes when clicking around in Firefox. In KAV I always disabled the browsing-related stuff, but MSE does not have any settings for that. I don't know if MSE monitors the browser or not, but I'm seeing things that were not happening with KAV: click a link in the browser, and it freezes for a split second, and/or mouse movement becomes sluggish, jumpy. Mouse drivers run at very high (or realtime) priority, but apparently MSE somehow manages to interfere with that (I guess that indicates a very serious CPU load from the kernel code). There is one site I visit often where this is particularly manifest - open a link to that site in a new tab, and Firefox freezes completely for a few (3-5) seconds. That did not happen before I installed MSE, so I'm pretty sure of the culprit.