| | Re: Windows Vista... (yeah you read that right)
Try to ignore the "Microsoft" name and accept that it does some things differently to Linux (as Windows users have to when we start using Linux).
I use Firefox for web and Thunderbord for email on Vista. I am alternating between OpenOffice and MS Office 2007 for wordprocessing etc (I have to support clients on Office 2007, though I don;t like the new "ribbon" thing).
The Vista firewall is reasonably good (certainly better than the XP one) so if you are using a router you don't need to install a firewall. You do need AV though; I use NOD32 which is commercial software (there's a 30 day trial) though AVG Free will probably do for your review. Don't install Norton/Symantec as the performance hit is significant and will give a lesser impression of Vista.
Also, go to Control Panel, Classic View, System, Advanced System Settings, Performance and turn some of the animate and fade stuff off.