I am not 100 percent what g2i2r4 is looking for so I will PM and ask. At first glance, I agree it seems for all the world like an association problem, but I am fairly certain it is not, but rather a partially corrupted critical componant of windows.
it is so odd that the problem goes away and comes back, and seems to manifest itself in different ways from time to time. The foreign language popup---that's new.
I understand the reluctance to run a repair of windows, and truthfully, I am not even convinced a repair will fix this issue.