Sgoshe .. we need to qualify that a little:My bad, I tend to think everyone is using the same OS as me. Too many Windows variations out there.
In Win7, Win Defender is a "malware scanner", In Win8/8.1 it takes on other aspects.
We have ALL been there once .. at least once ...the Internet is a constantly changing and evolving "thing"
There really is no "safe" place in terms of malware, virus, worms, trojens and keyloggers.. at best we can only "manage" the risk.
This entails a properly layered software defense and safe browsing habits but also a proper backup and recovery plan.
That in itself will turn disaster into mere inconvenience.
That is a good question ...
One point is ... if you have a solid system backup IMAGE, you can afford to "poke your nose out" a little ... if you get popped, with a good backup image... no harm-no foul ... just put it back like it was.
Otherwise, you try to take the "temperature" of the Internet .. daily.
One place I haunt is DSLReports:
There are a confusing array of "sub-forums" but there is a Hughes forum:
A Microsoft forum:
A security forum that is rather good at posting "risk trends":
There is one that has current "Phishing and Scams":
The MS & Security forums should be on every ones daily "visit" list just to see if the latest Microsoft updates are trashing peoples computers (for the last 4 months "Patch Tuesday" has had some system killers in it.
That website will give some insight to what is happening on the 'net .. before it happens to you.