This "thing" is becoming a major hassle. A workaround is all I have but a real cause and effect solution hasn't been found so far and I am going to stop actively looking for one and deal with the workaround. The workaround is nothing new, in fact it goes all the way back to the first post by Skeep... use a previous version. In my case I have stopped WMP from being updated by WSUS and reverted back to WMP 9.

Later I might install Media Player Classic with the lite versions of QT and Real, which will get rid of two other pieces of problem software.