Well, I just did the stupidest thing I've in a long while.
My browser slowed down and eventually froze up. This occasionally happens. Usually, I just close everything and restart. The whole thing takes less than five minutes. It's annoying but an easy fix. That didn't work this time. This occasionally happens. When it does I run the Restore function. This is a little more of an inconvenience since it usually takes over ten minutes. That didn't work. So, I ran it a second time. It still didn't work.
I've never been in this spot. At the bottom of the Restore window that informed the operation was a failure was a link that said consider refreshing your settings. "Okay," I thought, "why not?" I clicked the link and hit go. As soon as I did, I had second thoughts: "Maybe I should find out more about this before going through with it." I tried to to stop it. I even turned off the computer. When I turned it back on, the reset process was still chugging along.
When it was finished, my worst fears were realized. The computer began running through the "Welcome to Your New Computer" presentation. After impatiently waiting through that nonsense and actually getting to part of the computer that I actually use, I began assessing the damage. The good news is that all of my files are still there, though that would have been easy to fix since I back them up regularly. The bad news is that all of my programs are gone. All. Of. Them.
I started by reinstalling Google Chrome. That was the one bright spot in this. Once I logged in to Google it asked if I wanted to restore all of my customizations and promptly downloaded all of my bookmarks, add-ons, and my auto-fill file. That was the last good news. I tried opening up some files and discovered that Office is gone. I can download Office without charge. All I need to do is enter the 85 digit serial number on the disk. That's in a box along with the rest of the contents of my desk, and the desk, in a storage unit in Washington. I can probably muddle along with Google Documents though I won't have any of the language modules that I bought for Office. Those disks were in the desk drawer and are in the same box, in the same storage unit, in the same state that I am not in. The disk for my OCR program was also in that drawer (my desk was pretty well organized). My solitaire games are gone, but I wasted too much time on them anyway. And on and on.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.