I'm amazed that anyone still recommends MSE. Mr. Hoffman even admits that MSE hasn't been getting the best ratings in comparative AV tests, which is a mild way of putting it considering MSE is pretty much always near the bottom of the test result lists, yet still recommends it, then says, "If you’re worried about that, you should try the highly-recommended avast! free antivirus instead." If? People cotton pickin' well should be worried about it. I do concur with the recommendation for Avast (the one I use) although there a few other good freebies.
No matter how good an AV may be, it can never be depended on to catch everything. There are other anti-malware programs that will help reduce the chances of something getting past the AV. MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) has an excellent freebie that will play well with AVs. Even better is the paid version. Normally around $50 per license, it's often on sale for as little as $25 per license. The paid version provides automatic updating and full time protection. Normally I don't push paid software but MBAM's paid version has a lifetime license, making it a bargain in the long run.
SuperAntiSpyware (SAS) looks for adware, tracking cookies, etc. that normally doesn't get caught by AVs or MBAM. There is a paid version but it's for only a year at a time.
I also like to use Spybot Search and Destroy. It's free and has full time protection. Spybot got a bad rap several years ago because there were clones of it showing up that were actually malware but that isn't much of an issue now, if at all. The current version can be a bit overprotective but any annoying features can be turned off.
I agree backups are vital. However, windows 7 backup software has been problematic for many people. Macrium Reflect has an excellent freebie that is far more reliable and flexible for imaging. Reflect also has a provision for cloning
Crashplan is popular because it is cheap but it has had a poor track record for reliability in the past. I prefer Carbonite even though it costs more because it has a solid history for reliability. One free feature Crashplan has that is popular is the ability to encrypt and send backups via the internet to a friend's computer and vice versa.
I already discussed why I disagree with third party updaters not being needed after the first article in this series. Same for outbound firewalls and third party disk defraggers.