I hope to God that that whole mess is entirely unrelated, but it is when I noticed the problem. I went into my control panel at some point, clicked add or remove program, and it wouldn't open. Nothing popped up, no error messages; the mouse turned into the pointer/hourglass for a second, then went back to normal as if nothing had ever happened. It didn't take long to figure out the rest of the control panel programs didn't work either. The only ones that do work are things like fonts or printers, where the "program" is more of a folder. I also tried going into the system files and running the ".cpl" files, but the exact same thing happens.
What leads me to believe that it's ALL the "wizard" programs that won't work is that when I right click on the desktop and click "New Shortcut," the wizard doesn't come up. Instead, a worthless file just appears on the desktop saying "new shortcut."
This happened a while ago, and I've been ignoring it. Lately though it's been getting on my nerves because some full-screen games won't work. I could probably fix things to let them work if ATI's catalyst control center works, but I can't figure that whole mess out, which reminds me of the very bizarre problem of none of the wizard programs working.
Has anyone heard of this problem before? I can't find anything about it on the internet.