|..."I will look at Avast. I hope it includes a firewall."|
The free version of avast! does not include a firewall. If you're running XP Pro (you don't state whether it's XP Pro or XP Home), then use the firewall that comes with the OS.
"Also should I disable AVG whilst I try out Avast and Bit Defender..."
Having more than one anti-virus package on a single machine will drag the performance of that machine down to its' knees. Even disabling one of them may cause problems. If you're through with AVG, then completely uninstall it. But don't connect to the internet again until you have another completely installed.
"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."
message edited by T-R-A