a ) for encryption you don't really need something that does your whole drive, just something to put your private files into an encrypted archive. I would use 7z for this, it contains the ability to make encryoted archives, these archives can be opened up through 7z using the passowrd you set, then the files opened up with whatever program opens them, then when you close the program you were viewing the file with and close 7z the file should be safely encrypted again until you next need to open it.
b ) (yes the bbscript on here that turns b and a bracket into a face is annoying) i don't know this
c ) firewalls rarely do much, windows has one inbuilt(so does linux) that is adequate for most purposes. On linux it will be different but a standard one should be adequate, you just need to stop inbound traffic which is going anywhere that you haven't asked for it. You will need one but which one you pick is proabbly not that important.
d ) Tor is free and will help you with anonymity, it is a bit slow but not hugely so. It is a widely used anonymity tool and is regularly updated so that users can maintain anonymity despite advances in the methods used to try and track them.
e ) use an antivirus and some on demand scanners, you seem to already do this. Only run one antivirus at a time, multiple live protection antiviruses often attack each other. But it will be fine to run many on-demand non-realtime scanners to check your system is clean. Put noscript and adblock plus extensions into your browser, you might need firefox (you probably will need mozilla firefox, i don't think that the extensions exist for other browsers if you keep it up to date, run those extensions and make sure flash is "click to play" not "always activate" firefox should be as secure as anythng else) for that but those two extensions really help reduce the number of potential infections you are exposed to.
Judging by your questions it seems you are quite security concious and secretive, so another thing i would recommend to you is the use of a linux live operating system. I have heard a little abut these including one called TAILS (which is mentioned somewhere on Tor's site, the idea is thye run on a usb flash drive, you plug them into a computer, boot up the computer from the flash drive and then you are inside a live environment. You do your secret browsing through tor, and encrypt your private data within 7z files, checking over your shoulder at random intervals (yes that last point is a joke but your overall idea and intentions are quite serious and perfectly valid and rational). Once you have finished your secretive stuff, you log off, turn off and unplug the usb drive. Then when you reboot the cmputer from it's internal operating system it SHOULD have no memory of the fact it was ever used for your private stuff. You can save all your private files and such on a second usb drive, once again encrypted with 7z (or some equivalent). That is my advice of you need to be REALLY secure and anonymous. I've used tor once or twice, to look at blogs about how to be more anonymous (see this webcomic for something similar to my experinces with tor http://xkcd.com/1269/
), so can tell you a little on my experiences with it but have never used a live OS so don't know anything more than a standard description of what one is. Tor's website is a good place to start when looking for information on online anonymity, note that security is a bit of a different thing, security is keeping hackers and viruses out of your system, anonymity is avoiding being linked back to what you post or read. They are both useful things to have and techniques to preserve them usually work well together.
Edited by rp88, 26 October 2014 - 10:23 AM.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.
My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB