Ive found the most efficient way is to have all your downloads and docs in my documents and sync it to a slave drive.
I don't load any programs in the slave except the ones that don't install and just unzip and you have the program.
I mean how can you tell if whatever is mess up is in the image or system restore? hiding in therte like the rest of troubles.
If I can't fix it easily through the easier ways, I have to revert to reformat and reinstall my programs. Takes longer, but I feel safer about it.
Geekstogo.com has some tools in their arsenal that are given for the specific situation that the advanced helpers use to fix problems, that I've never seen anywhere else.
Just a tip. Thry could be other places but I've never found them, though I haven't done a through search for them either.
In comparison to the other help forums, which do provide help, Ive found thast geekstogo solves more problems and cut through the waste of time stuff thst is out there.
Currently I use ccleaner, gladys utilities, regcleaner, atf-cleaner clean-up, malwarebytes, a-squared, avg-anti spyware, avg anti virus, superantispyware and runscanner when I run occasional maintenance.
For specific problems with a program, usually uninstalling or repairing the program fixes it,
Other then that I use geekstogo, which I haven't used for years.
Though I get many tips and leads to programs from it.
It's a very large forum with lots of helpers.
And they seem to have tools that that I have'nt seen anywhere else.
Though some require guidance from their staff to do it right.
Which reminds me, I got turned on to DC from GTG a long time ago.
One of the staff had Screenshot Capture in his signature.
Overall, I suppose clean-up by steven gould is very effective.
Though it's not recommended by GTG.
It used to be till it started causing problems with some users.
And they maintain a very safe method of operation for the general user.
So that's my take on the subject.
Except I agree that system restore is unreliable.
Though there are fixes to restore dates.
There is no guarantee that the problem is not in the ST files.
Though I keep it running just in case it works.
I have found traces and trojans in the system restore files, so that's why I don't specifically rely on it.
Surfing the net in search of different things, one runs across some malicious stuff.