Your can download and create a windows 8.1 iso on to a USB boot from that and try a reset keeping the data.
or if your data is extremely important save it first by booting from a live linux disk and save your data to an external source first or connect the hard drive in a external case to another PC and save your data before attempting the reset.
Try switching your computer on and after 7 seconds switch it off by holding in the start button. Do that 3 or 4 times and you should get a repair screen giving you different options of repairing your computer.
Maybe a system restore to a time before the problem might work.
I tried the restart 3 or 4 times to get a repair screen and that did not work. I have downloaded a windows 8.1 iso onto a thumb drive, but where I would get the system to use it, the prompt says that I need to "login as administrator and there is no administrator set up on this computer." I will try booting from a live linux disk next if I can find a download. Any other suggestions?
What do you mean by requiring a start up password to start up?
It's called "SysKey" and is frequently enabled by those evil scammers to prevent the user from accessing their computer:
Luckily, it's usually very easy to fix with a System Restore and choosing an available restore point that pre-dates the problem. The OP didn't explicitly mention that he'd tried it but it can be found on the Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options screen.
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