a few tips. do not run more than 1 spyware scanner. it causes problems.
Ad Aware is great, but I'd go with a one stop shopping solution: AVG.
They have pay versions, but both of these will do for average users.
Also get a better firewall than the one provided by windows. Here is one free option:
There are probably a dozen more. Just google free firewall.
Mostly agree about the browsers. However, IE7 is much improved as far as security goes, and IE8 is due to be released some time in the next couple of months. The beta is available now, and it does have increased security as well. That said, IE will always be a bigger risk.
Raisel Ghul, the Demon's Head
While it's a bad idea to run more than one antivirus utility, it's OK and even a good idea to run more than one spyware utility. I run Ad-Aware every few weeks after the Norton suite does its thing.
I have been using Spybot and Ad-Aware, and Ad-Aware didn't detect any of my latest problems (but Spybot did).
My whole problem stemmed from having the firewall turned off, I'm pretty sure. I'm going to give ZoneAlarm a shot.