i believe i am the exception when it comes to people who use windows, but i have:
a) never used virus prevention program
b) never had a virus.
practice common sense when downloading and using software on a windows machine. this should be your credo.
[The below posting actually ends very optimistically.]
Regarding your comments, I felt the same way and got away with it for the longest time, but the reality is this:You will be right about being safe every time you go online
. . . until you are wrong !
I realized this when I more than once halted a partial intrusion (in the days before bitcoin), using a diligently adjusted outbound firewall. The moment unwanted code runs on your machine, or might have, you may be toast -- and often won't know it. (That's true with or without antivirus software, especially when up against stealthy wallet stealing code that could hurt you months after it runs a single time.)
Keeping every piece of software from every vendor up to date on Windows is just not very practical (and it's expensive, and so tedious). Since then I have switched to Linux, where major distributions make it easy to update virtually all your software (including applications) at no cost, in one operation, without having to go to any websites or do much work at all. But I don't pretend that I can be completely secure even now.
Since it only takes one infiltration to compromise your system, and since you could lose files or gain an undetectable
rootkit, it makes sense to only keep low-value wallets (and no lists of critical bitcoin-related passwords) on daily-use machines, at least UNTIL a dramatically new level of security is available. (Keep the rest on a non-networked machine for now. An alternative might be to install a simple, trusted OS which has your Bitcoin client but nothing else, and on top of that to run a fully virtualized copy of Windows/Linux for daily use, provided you can ensure the guest OS can't directly touch most of your hardware.)
Appearances to the contrary, I think there actually are feasible, user-friendly solutions to the problem ... of beginners ... using Bitcoin clients ... with big wallets ... on possibly infected computers. Coming up, I will discuss them in some detail with the developers or in the appropriate forums.