Did a little more playing. As suggested, uninstalled both Virtu and Afterburner then reinstalled Afterburner first and then Virtu. I know virtu is a little fussy over the order its installed with the video drivers, so though it might be the same with Afterburner. This fixed the problem 50%.
Now, if I "restart" the PC then the screen will go blank right before win8 logon, but if I do a full "shutdown" through windows, or by pressing the power button, then everything starts and works fine - both Afterburner and Virtu.
From the documentation I read on win8, restart is supposed to be a "full" shutdown and restart, opposed to "shutdown", which is a hybrid restart. Tried disabling hybrid restart for the full shutdown, but it made no difference.
What I noticed is than when doing a restart, all LEDs on the VID card stay on whereas if the PC is "shutdown" either through windows, or power button, then all lights go off.
Not sure if this is a Win8, driver, or specific card problem. Any ideas? For me this is not a big deal, just shutdown, but am away a lot and know its going to screw up the wife!