I ran AdwCleaner and Hitman Pro. They each (mostly AdwCleaner) detected registry files as potentially suspicious.
I wasn't thinking very clearly and went ahead and deleted these files with AdwCleaner. As a result, upon restart and logging into my computer, I was greeted with a black screen and my cursor. This was after a minute or two long wait for the "welcome" screen to pass, which usually takes seconds (SSD).
I figured out that I could hit ctrl alt del and restart explorer.exe to get my desktop, icons, etc. to reappear.
The problem didn't end there. Now a lot of my start up programs do not start up. This includes some intel stuff, my antivirus (MSE), and some other programs like flux and minibin. My computer won't connect to the internet and my firewall is disabled. I am unable to turn the firewall back on.
I don't know if this is all the result of missing registry files, but regardless I am at a loss on how to fix this. I know enough about computers to get around, but this sort of thing is beyond me.
Embarrassingly, my last restore point is from 2012 due to hubris, so I can't really restore without losing years of changes.
I don't think I had a virus. I was just running some scans to make sure I didn't have any sneaky bits of malware mbam had missed.
Is there anything I can do to fix this issue? I don't have my windows install disk anymore, as I lost it years ago.