To reset maya's settings - Go to the My Documents folder of your computer, then maya>then the folder marked with your version number>then prefs and then delete the file that says 'user prefs'. This will restore maya to it's default settings.
Not sure what tool you mean. The Paint Effects tool maybe? Make sure you are still under the modelling set of tools. To change this look under the small shelf on the left, which has the options modelling, rendering, dynamics, animation. I think the Paint Effects tool is under Polygons or Edit Polygons.
Hope this helps.