This makes it the third time this year I've had to completely reinstall Windows 8.1 because SolidWorks turned to mush. At least this time, I was able to plan for it. I was able to do a repair installation on the other four occasions this year (not counting the laptop as well...) but this last time the SW install manager didn't even work. So, I know it was time to start with a fresh machine.
Of course, the little search box in Open Dialog box still crashes SW every time no matter what.
The difference this time is that I've turned off the automatic Windows updates in an attempt to stave off incompatibility issues. I know this is risky and I will have to be careful about visiting sketchy websites.