[Guide] Gordon's guide to secure computing, part 1

Thanks for all the feedback everyone :D !
I'll get my copy of spybot and check-out pandasoftware.com.

I'll also check if my router supports WPA.

As for AV software, I use Kaspersky, I switched from NAV as soon as my second subscription ran out for the defs and guess what, it found at least 50 viruses and trojans that were not found by NAV!!!

I have to say I was pretty surprised, as I thought NAV was pretty good until then.

I changed because a friend of mine who knows a lot more about PCs than myself told me NAV is a rip-off and everyone just gets it because it is the most used.

Kaspersky has a 3 month free fully-functional trial period if anyone feels like checking it out. It runs seemlessly with XPSP2 (unlike NAV where you have to turn off SP2's warning system), but it does take a VERY long time to scan.
Whoa! I tried Kaspersky last night. It did find two viruses that Norton AV had been missing. I guess this may prove the point that, like anti-spyware, you probably shouldn't single-source your virus protection? Either that, or Norton blows chunks.

However, Kaspersky slowed my PC to a crawl. And it wouldn't let me open Internet Explorer - IE would start searching for the site and then close! Wierd. I had to uninstall. Maybe it doesn't run well concurrently with Norton AV?

BTW, for anti-spyware I use five - Ad-aware SE, Spybot, Bazooka, XoftSpy and SpySweeper - only SpySweeper runs continuously. Yes I'm paranoid and five is extreme, but initially they all found different stuff when run in series - and not just cookies.

Squintz, you've probably got a plug-in that has been added to IE that is doing the pop-ups and directing you to other sites when you misspell or type in a bad URL. The various add-ons such as Yahoo and Google bars can do this, too, so it may not be caught by spyware because it assumes you installed in on purpose. Take a look at the symptoms and see if you can match them up to some of the spyware descriptions on the 'net. Also, try some of the other spyware scanners listed by others in this thread. Something will find it!
Re multiple anti-spyware apps:
You guys were right, installed Spybot and it found loads of stuff that ad-aware didn't, so cheers for that :D !

Re Sqintz's problem:
I agree with huggy59 about the web toolbars, especially if you have one called "hotbar" or "my web search" can't remember which, it supports adware and launches pop-ups.
I personally prefer to get rid of them all as they slow down IE and anyway, SP2 blocks pop-ups if that's what you use it for.

Re Mark S. NAV/KAV:
I've had no slow-down problems with Kaspersky and IE has no problems, so it is likely to incompatibility with Norton, they do both provide real-time protection though, so maybe if it were to be disabled for one of them... Anyone else got any comments on this?
As far as looking for the source of the pop-ups, try Hack-This. I believe that what its called, I will check when I get home. It isn't very intuitive andyou have to analyze a report it spits out, but it works the best of all, just not automatic.