Think about a different browser like Mozilla http://www.mozilla.org/
beside the security reason, there are other feature you might like, try out the tabbed browser and the popup blocker. Only drawback, is when you need windows updates you must use IE.
I use a program called Startup Monitor. Anytime a program tries to register in the system startup, it will popup asking you if it is OK. Very handy and very small. It just sits in the background until needed. http://www.mlin.net/StartupMonitor.shtml