Having had this heartache before, I started logging every install on a new laptop - even the Firefox extensions
- with CintaNotes. It's kind of a PITA, but doesn't take much ... just the program name as note title, version - and any other significant data, such as removal date, reason, and more - along with appropriate tags to indicate why/where/how any action was taken. Doesn't slow me down that much, and has been extremely helpful with some driver issues.
Drawback: this process does not take into account automatic updates, nor potential conflicts, since it relies upon manual entry.
I've been hunting for some kind of logging system for the last couple of decades - that, my friends, would be worth gold - lot's of it. Ideally, such an app would recognize several varieties of installs/upgrades, then log time, date, version, name, and optionally, comments. I suspect that would be a fairly large order, even larger if appropriately cross-platform - I'd certainly hate to try to create something that could keep up with the *nix habit of compiling and installing on the fly
All that being said, I'd be really interested to meet the dev that would be willing to tackle such a project