This is what I do. I use a layered protection scheme. I use little programs that do specific things. Not bulky programs that try to do everything.
Avast!4 home AV, Sygate personal firewall, SpywareBlaster, RegistryProt 2.0 & ScripTrap. These little free programs stop virtually everything.
And xp-AntiSpy, SpyBot S&D and Adaware6, (also all freeware) to 1st get rid of that M$ crap & the last two to check I'm free of spy/adware.
Those are my basics. What are yours. B)