Last, but not least, if I go into the Connection Wizard, the "Connection to Internet" option (2nd on the list) is grayed out, while all other options are available.
I ran an SFC /scannow to no avail. I'm really stuck because I have important programs on it.
I restored a week-old copy through Acronis Disk Director which I had saved on an external disk. No change.
I am reporting this bug through one of my laptops going through the above-mentioned router in an ADSL environment.