The last critical updates I loaded from Microsoft...loaded fine and were done yesterday, via Windows Update and Microsoft Update websites. I don't do autoupdates.
<<Did microsoft push down some sort of update?>>
Not sure what that means...installation of all updates (critical and optional) is always at the command of the user.
<<Windows cannot load the users profile but has logged you in with the default profile...>>
Typically occurs when user profile is damaged and needs to be replaced.
<<This copy of windows must be activated with microsoft before you can log on. Do you want to activate windows now?>>
Typically, I've seen this one with OEM machines (HP, eMachines, etc.) where the OEM setup has gone awry. OEM websites may provide more info on this error message.
<<A problem is preventing windows from accurately checking the license for this computer. error code 0x8000.>>http://support.microsoft.com/kb/914232