I finally got around to creating an RTF default template using a tutorial I found on this site.
When I had it set up I decided to add it to the 'New' context menu.
It appeared on the menu without any problem but when I clicked on it instead of opening Wordpad it created a shortcut, when I double clicked on the shortcut that opened Wordpad with the new default template.
I went back over what I had done without finding a problem so I tried one of the other items in the 'New' menu and discovered that everything in the menu (except Shortcut) is doing the same thing, instead of opening a new document or whatever it is creating a shortcut to the item I want.
The same thing is happening if I access the 'New' menu from an Explorer window as well as from the Desktop.
I have keyboard shortcuts for several items in that menu, Notepad, Word, Wordpad, they all work correctly, which leads me to the conclusion that the problem is with the menu itself rather than its contents.
In the nine months since I built this computer the only thing I can recall using the 'New' menu for is to create shortcuts which is still working as it should, so I have no idea when this started or what might have caused it.
I have looked at dozens of threads and articles on the 'New' menu without finding any mention of the same problem so I decided to start a new thread.
Any thoughts appreciated.