Yes All you have siad is valid and fully understood.
In many aspects, the advanced antispyscanners have improved in using resources. But often the vendor does not or can change the code too much at once- the new releases are evident of that when they BSOD or bog down the PC or have too many probeuems for too many customers.
Instead they change certain aspects of the scanner so that it does less than before. Less components and files are checked or the files are not checked as deeo as before. Or compressed items within a dll are skipped or the decompression is not scanned fully as before or the file gets repacked too quicky and the scanning has not finished yet. Sometimes less is less and not less is more. This often is the case with AV and I suspect the AS can be doing it the same way. Or certain less vulnerable areas are skipped from the AS scan, where as before it was doing a more complete scan. Yes scanning is faster and easier on the PC, but less is being done than before.
Webroot has had a fw for some time. Check under "More Personal Firewalls" from here>
or look here>
PCTools firewall is based on a code from an older Look'n Stop firewall. The older PC Tools version 1 was a change- nice pctools GUI with the actual Look'n Stop setup. Their version 2 is still not a finished product. It is Vista capable, but in some ways is not a finished product.
The drivers are still changing, SPI has been discontinued and has yet to return, the actual rules creation need some polishing- lack of port ranges, missed some of the more expert or fine tuning aspect of rules creation and the default rule set is lacking (as with most default rule sets). It will become a good firewall, after it has been properly finished. Meanwhile the Lookn'Stop has been advanced further, has become extremely polished and their beta for Vista is not finished yet.
McAfeee. LOL I have had that too. The trial was okay. Then I purchased it, upgraded it and it was actually dying. Thirty day refunds are a blessing in the end.
Take care WATCHER.