Virtualbox install issues

On Dec 3 there was a 53 item update (including Firefox 83) that somehow completely borked my system. This happen to anybody else? Just a really strange coincidence?
Anyway, nothing I did could bring it back - not repairs nor backups -

Had to reformat everything and start from scratch. Still no idea what went wrong

Now, I can’t get Virtualbox to install properly.
A variety of errors, the 2 most common are that
-incorrect password
-run /sbin/vboxconfig to fix

But the password is correct and there is no such file as vboxconfig.

On another partition, VBox installs fine in any number of other distros, but not in new installs of Manjaro Cinnamon or Manjaro XFCE

Any thoughts on my direction here?

I installed vbox on an xfce base yesterday with zero issues. The sbin/vboxxconfig error has been around for years and is a user install problems. see this 2015 post: 14.04 - VirtualBox "Kernel driver not installed" error despite running /sbin/vboxconfig - Ask Ubuntu

or this 2018 reddit post:

Mother google will provide tons of clues and guidance.

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Well, now.
I’ve done absolutely everything anybody has suggested, and it was only by installing the linux-headers that anything changed. Found that buried in the 14.04 link from manyroads - thanks, @manyroads
I had thought those were installed by default - I guess not.
I never had such issues with VB in any distro before - never had to install the headers myself.
Does anybody know why? And I’d like to know which of the many possible “pebkac” errors I’ve been doing.

Arch sometimes has issues with linux-headers and vbox. I’ve not seen it lately, myself.

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