No, the desktop which had the problem until I reinstalled everything is running eset, the work laptop is running bitdefender. Not uncommon anti-virus programs so they should be no problem.
Both are intel processors and both are running Win10 with all the updates.
Is there a debugger that one can run that can trap what's going on when the failure occurs?
It seems clear that something you are installing \ changing is causing the issue and may be outside of what we can help with.
Out of curiosity, where are said recent items actually - local or cloud \ network? If you 'open file location', does it open it?
If you restart WinExp, does it then work?
Stardock Support Manager