This started suddenly after I turned my desktop pc off before going away for a week. When I came home and turned it back on, it hasn't been "normal" since.
When I start my computer, go to my user folder, documents etc., all appears fine. Folders/thumbnails and images within the folder appear as normal.
However, if I open (for instance) my "downloads" folder, the folder icons and associated icons are initially displayed as "normal", but I see that the explorer bar (where I see C:/user/downloads, etc) is "computing items" but it never stops. A green "progress bar" SLOWLY moves across that "text window" and then it stays green. As if the pc is having trouble reading what is in the folder.
Once that happens, if I back out of the folder and then go back in to it, most of the folder icons/thumbnails/pictures are no longer visible. If I navigate to other folders, it's the same thing; many (but not all) of the folder icons and the thumbnails within are not displayed. Example: in my "user file" the AppData and Tracing folders, the icon is non existant....yet my Contacts, Desktop, Favorites, Documents etc. are shown as standard windows "yellow folders" but not the thumbnails that I have associated with them. Also, the file info (if I highlight a file name) does not appear at the bottom of the explorer window, as it normally would for me.
I have run my anti-virus, malwarebytes, which are showing no problems and I have also tried "indexing" but no luck.
I do have an external drive that is close to full, but it is disconnected. My C drive is
currently 873gb full of 1.35tb. Recovery partition is 1.63gb free of 13.2gb - which I have never "messed with", though I have previously done 2 "reset to factory settings"
I have taken some screen shots to illustrate. If they might help, I can add them here.
Anyone have an idea of what is going on? I'd rather not do another restore if I can avoid it.
edit: I have also just noticed that when I go to start/control panel, computer, network etc. the windows are completely blank. No icons, no file names displayed.