Yesterday, I had a Windows 8.1 update and today the start button has no right-click functionality. Also, all of the desktop shortcuts that were specific to my user account became hidden. I set the folders to show hidden and now they are back, but semi-transparent. What has happened here?

I really don't want to do a reinstall, because I only did that a month or so ago and had a right game installing all of the applications I use. I tried to create another user account, but it won't let me use the same email address...bit of a problem as that email address is linked to my MS Office 2013 purchase and updates.

Can someone please advise on the best course of action? I know, I know...switch to a Mac. Trouble is, I need some Windows-only products and hate using parallels.