Please Help! Virus? Avast, Firefox, Windows update quit working


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I was having no known issues when I shut my computer (windows 8.1) down on 6-2-21. On 6-3-2021 when I turned on computer, I noticed the shortcut pinned to task bar for firefox was missing. Unable to browse internet except for internet explorer which still works. I shut down and restarted, but still no link for firefox. I looked in This PC>Downloads and Firefox was not there. I ran a full virus scan with Avast (free version) that turned up nothing. I ran a scan with Malwarebytes (no threats detected) I then ran a boot scan with Avast that showed nothing new, just 3 very old messages that I have gotten for years (I didn't know how to locate and delete) {CAB archive is corrupted} I rebooted several more times with no luck. At some point I also lost the Programs>> on my task bar, so I could no longer access MalwareBytes, among other things. Malwarebytes also disappeared for downloads folder. The only issue I had noticed prior was occasional high pc usage that seemed odd, but I couldn't find a suspect file when looking in task manager and scans turned up nothing. Windows Action Center showed everthing ok.

At this point late 6-3/early 6-4 I ran a system restore to may 24th, the earliest option prior to this problem. The restore was successful, but when I logged on noon 6-4-21, the first time since I did restore as it was getting late. The icon for firefox and Programs>> were back on task bar. The short cuts were back and the downloads for both were back in the downloads folder. Everything appeared ok. I thought I would then run scans again and look to see if I needed any updates. First I updated and ran Malwarebytes successfully with no items detected. When I try to access Avast, it does nothing. I double click icon on desktop, the "wheel spins" for a couple seconds like its doing something, but nothing happens. In hidden icons on task bar, avast is green and says you are protected. All shields are on. I try left click on Open Avast User Interface and again does nothing. If I doubleclick avast Icon here, I get an all white user interface that appears. Nothing else. Tried many times with same issue.

I tried the firefox icon in my task bar and nothing happens. It says "The item 'firefox.exe' that this short cut refers to has been changed or moved, so this short cut will no longer work properly. Do you want to delete this short cut" I tried typing firefox in RUN but said windows cannot find "firefox". I didn't know if this should work or not.

I am having one other issue that I am aware of. When I tried to check for updates for Windows in Control Panel>Security it said most recent check for updates - never and updates installed - never. I thought maybe this was because I restored to may 24th. I always check for updates and it does updates automatically. So I manually click on check for updates - after a long time, 15-20 minutes of checking, I get Windows could not search for new updates errors found code 8024402f. I went into trouble shoot problems - problems found
potential windows update database error detected 0x80070490 - fixed
windows update components must be repaired - fixed
I tried to run test program here for Avast but did nothing.

I waited 15 minutes and tried running windows update again, but got the same result and error code 8024402f.

please advise
 
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Joined
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please delete, I didn't mean to post twice. I didn't see it post first time, so I tried again. I didn't see an option to delete.
 
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What size and kind (SSD or HDD) is your hard drive?
How much free space is there?
 
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