Edythe, that is what keeps me going plus I like to learn by doing. :)
But no, don't be forced into doing something you really don't want to do. Really should image your system at least once a month to save a lot of grief (stress) if HDD crashes or other hardware failure.
If it came with 8.1 then you can download the ISO, install it and the key in the BIOS should be recognized. There should also be a reset/recover partition on the drive if you can get to the repair menu.
There is also a repair install as described here once you have the ISO...
First, make sure you have latest driver installed here (click on the hardware version): Linksys Official Support - WUSB6300 Downloads
Then be sure all power saving features are turned off for your USB ports and WiFi adapter in Device Manager and Advanced Power settings.
Man what a pain in the butt! Not jumping through those hoops just to download audio drivers. My Realtek chip is older anyway and probably getting no benefit from newer drivers. Doesn't even support the Maxx Audio stuff. Thanks for the info though. :)
EDIT: Thanks Cliff was typing while you...