Thanks for the tips.
I'v already done a lot of what you'v mentioned. From my experience, the best way to avoid problems is education combined with all of the above.
Sadly, there is nothing like 100% solution to this.
What pisses me off more than anything are these people with no backups then they get an infection, then they think that there's got to be some ultimate solution, like you press one button and all of your files are restored, issue is gone. People, this doesn't exist!
If you're not running a regular backup, start. Great thing (in my eyes) is that you can go different routes. Say you want to back up your computer and you want it not stored locally, you can run a disk imager like Acronis True Image and put it somewhere like external HDD, cloud storage, USB, etc. If you don't want to pay for that kind of stuff, or you just want something fast, you can go with a snapshot tool like Ax64, Comodo Time Machine, or Rollback Rx. Or you can do both! It's a free world people, you have options.
Either way, come up with a plan, so the next time you get an infection because you downloaded cracked photoshop, instead of looking aimlessly around for a solution, you just restore and you're good to go. If you back up, think of all the time you save having to write a post on forums like this. You could do so much with that extra time
if you want to find keygens that are malware, let's say for testing purposes, so don't go to thepiratebay and search for your favorite pirated program. Instead, just google it, and download it directly from an unknown site.
And even if you do go to thepiratebay, don't choose a torrent from a known uploader, which has user comments indicating it is clean. Choose the torrent from an unknown uploader, and it was just uploaded today, and it already has much more seeders than all the clean torrents put together. Obviously, someone is trying to scam the system...
That's how to find the malware. And the reverse holds true if you want to find clean keygens, for instance, if you need to study it for research purposes.
Sandboxie is freeware since the unregistered version allows you to get almost all the features found in the full version. Performing a paid registration you get a key that allows you to remove the nag screen after 30 days and use more of the sandbox at the same time and other functions.
I download a lot and I have come across a lot of hacks, keygens and so on and I can tell you that I have saved a lot of money. A couple of 1000$ surly because I do not pay for software and I have +400progs on my pc. Not all to buy but a lot and if you know how to do it than it can do no harm. The first rule is after downloaded a torrent, newsgroup,... with a hack or so on, is to check it on Virustotal with Winja. Get you no red alerts than it's fine most of the time and get you a few and the biggest AV's like Kasper and BitDefender give it green, then it is most of the time a false positive and you can go on but get you a lot of red and these AV give it red then it is 90% of the time garbage. Let say it's is more green and these AV's give it a green light, than you can check it on a backup drive with sandboxie and there you get you key and you copy that key in your source OS and voila you have safed safely money. I do this for more than 10 years know and no probs here on the good old Xp. And if there was a little red but the good AV's give it green light you can always put it in a zip-folder with a password for extra security.