Bolstering Windows Security
This post over at ARS Technica contains a couple of links to tools that can be deployed to augment virus and malware protection. The guys on that site are pretty savvy, so it surprised me when, several months ago, MSE (along with Malware Bytes and the Windows firewall) became their apps of choice in the malware war. The thinking is that an AV app isn't going to help you much against the things that will hurt you the most, so you may as well use something simple and free. There are exceptions, but we'll skip those for now.
Without going into the logic and technical end of the arguments, keeping safe boils down to: Don't surf where you shouldn't, use a hardware router (firewall), don't surf on an Admin account, get rid of attack vectors (Flash, Java, Acrobat Reader, etc.) and so on. But even legitimate websites can get hacked and spread nasties, some worse than others.
Today's malware has reached a level of sophistication such that (usually zero-day) attacks can happen without your ever knowing it -- because the really toxic stuff doesn't advertise its presence. So you can be compromised and cruise along blissfully for weeks until one day when your identity is stolen or your bank account is emptied. Not good.
The links in the post referenced above will introduce you to the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 3.0, a MS download, as well as the Software Restriction Policy (or, alternatively, Parental Controls) to stop certain exploits from running on your machine. The EMET is really easy to configure, especially if you use the XML file (essentially an apps whitelist).
Just ran across this today an thought I'd pass it on. You may or may not find it useful, just like you may or may not agree with the overall philosophy of how to stay safe. That's fine, I'm not 100% in agreement myself. But these look like reasonably good tools and so here they are.