Well I finally got through to Microsoft and it was a waste of time as I figured it would be. All the tech could come up with was to send me a repair disk for 8.1 with no guarantee that it would fix the problem. I decided rather than wait without a computer for the time it would take to get a disk in the mail that I would just go ahead and bite the bullet.
I have restored my computer to factory settings and am in the process of reinstalling all my programs which will take a while. I have a 500 GB external back up drive which holds all my personal files so rather than be selective I just saved everything that I even thought I might possibly want. (My user file ain't small)
Anyway I've read that some are having no trouble and then there are others. I just happen to be one of the others I guess. (story of my life
The only problem I'm having is Malwarebytes. I bought the program and can't find my activation message and also can't find anything on their site to look it up. I sent them an email and maybe I'll get an answer.
Everything else so far I've been able to reactivate when necessary and save my "save games" so all in all I am beginning to see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.