I don't know if this is related at all... but...
I had the same issue with nothing new* added. By new, I mean it was an external HD that I had been using with it last week with no problems (disconnecting, reconnecting each day).
Today, I plug in my ext HD and... Explorer freezes. Still have mouse, keyboard still functions... but I can't do anything with them.
Disconnected the drive, hard booted the laptop and it would sit at an empty desktop (post splash). Brought up the task mgr, explorer was running... ended it, re-launched explorer... still no dice.
Restarted in safe mode, froze on the same file yours did. I let it sit for a couple of minutes and I finally got my command prompt. Ran chkdsk, no errors... rebooted again... blank desktop. Pulled up the task mgr, ended explorer, re-launched explorer... desktop!
Then I started getting notifications that Windows Defender was having problems. I brought up the window for Defender and it was pretty much frozen right away. I let it sit for a few minutes and got a notice that its service was having issues, so I just disabled it.
Connected my ext HD and everything is working perfectly again. I checked for app error/failure logs, but there weren't any.
I've never been a fan of windows defender, so I'll probably just keep it disabled.