I agree with you 100%, SP2 has caused many problems for me. I completely disabled windows firewall and I don't even use IE. I use Firefox 0.9.3, but after installing SP2 has crashed more times than IE.
I use AVG (free version) for antivirus, and Norton Firewall for my firewall in conjunction with my NAT router. Firefox has a built in pop-up blocker that IMO is way better than IE's.
Well after installing SP2 and using it for a week or so, I have come to the conclusion that the security package of SP2 is a terrible disapointment! I thought it was going to be a solid standalone within the update. Sadly enough, I have come to realize that using the security features of SP2 in Winxp will no doubt not be enought in todays online us. Does anyone have any good recommendations of applications to use in conjunction with Winxp (SP2)upgraded? Obviously you can't run multiple security applications without causing problems. Thanks Larry