I spent some time with Dell talking about this issue. System restore didn't
correct the problem. We checked out services and their dependencies. Before
going to the ultimate (and worst case) solution which would be to re-install
the O.S., I ran cmd/sfc /scannow which is the Windows file checker. It
corrected some errors and now things are working again.
I commend Dell for helping me fix
what was clearly a problem caused by
faulty Microsoft software.
As someone who's used computers for almost 30 years, it still very
frustrating that errors like system file corruptions occur in a brand new
O.S., and that the system isn't capable of automatically identifying faults
and correcting them itself. Users should not have to dig around in Windows
services. Ideally, a computer would identify that all is not well and either
it itself, or connect to a Microsoft website for a comprehensive
diagnosis and repair of all damaged files.