If you need good antivirus and other protection here is what I use and recommend :
(all are free to home users)
Avast and Prevx have proven extremely reliable and compatible with everything I have thrown at them.
Microsoft Security Essentials and Prevx have also proven to be very reliable and compatible.
Avast Home Free - stop any shields you do not need except leave Standard, Web, and Network running.
Prevx - Home - Free
Windows Defender (not needed if using MSE)
IE - Protected Mode
IE 8 - SmartScreen Filter ON (IE 7 Phishing Filter)
I also have IE to always start with InPrivate Filter active if IE 8.
(You occasionally have to turn it temporarily off with the little Icon on LEFT of the + bottom right of IE)
Avast - Home - Free - stop any shields you do not need except leave Standard, Web, and Network running.
(Double Click Blue icon - details next to OK. - upper left Shields - Terminate those you do not use.) http://www.avast.com/eng/avast_4_home.html
Prevx - Home - Free small, fast, exceptional CLOUD protection, works with other security programs. This is
a scanner only, VERY EFFECTIVE, if it finds something come back here or use Google to see how to remove. http://www.prevx.com/ <-- information http://info.prevx.com/downloadcsi.asp <-- download
Also get Malwarebytes - free - use as scanner only. If you ever suspect malware, and that would be unsual with
Avast and Prevx running except for an occasional low level cookie (no big deal), UPDATE it and then run it as
a scanner. I have many scanners and they never find anything of note since I started using this setup.
To see all that is loading bootup - wait a few minutes without doing anything - then Right Click TaskBar -
Task Manager - take a look at Appplications - Processes - Services - this is a quick reference (if you have
a little box on Lower Left - Show for All Users then check that).
WhatsInStartUP - Free - This utility displays the list of all applications that are loaded automatically when Windows
starts up. For each application, the following information is displayed: Startup Type (Registry/Startup Folder),
Command -Line String, Product Name, File Version, Company Name, Location in the Registry or file system,
and more. It allows you to easily disable or delete unwanted programs that runs in your Windows startup.
Window Watcher - Free - Do you know what's running on your computer? Maybe not. The Window Watcher tells all, reporting every window created by every running program, whether the window is visible or not.