Like all sensible people I decided to google my issue only after I had taken my laptop's life into my own hands. A problem cropped up on my laptop on Friday and I assumed it was something to do with working on an unsecured wifi connection fr the past several months and thought I had probably picked up a virus, so without a second thought I did what I had always done in the past and did a factory reset, which I now know was a really stupid thing to do.
When it started up again I was being asked to activate windows which had never happened before and as it was pre-installed (and MS hotline were not at all inclined to help me out) I had no idea how to fix it. Skip a few hours later and a well-meaning flatmate actually reset my laptop a second time in as many days while I was away.
The problems now are that most of my admin tools are disabled (time and date are also completely off), I appear to be connected to the internet but can't leave the homepage (and am told every other website has an outdated security certificate and cannot get through the warning screen) and I am being asked to activate windows again.
I ran malwarebytes, superantispyware and Avast scans in safe mode after the reset and they can't pick up anything. My unit is about 8 months old, it's had a lot of problems with the software in the past like the update to 8.1 crashing it at least 2 times but no major virus attacks.
I would be EXTREMELY grateful for anybody's help, I really need my laptop back!