Perhaps the owner of the C: drive got changed accidently?
Open windows explorer, right click on C: and click properties. Then click the security tab and click advanced. What is shown as the owner? On my win8 x64, trustedinstaller is the owner.
Same Trustedinstaller for me as well.
It looks like something is seriously messed up with his settings. Unable to bring up dialog boxes, Failed to Read Description. Error Code: 2 etc.
I think the best thing to do is a clean install. Format the partition and re-install Windows. Just back everything up.
Did you upgrade from Windows 7? Clean install is the way, never upgrade from an existing installation if you want to avoid issues and gain maximum efficiency.
Eh, a reinstall does seems like an option at this point. Just when I have set everything so nicely up... ugh. I guess I'll have the opportunity to check out the new Refresh functionality of Windows 8.
And it's not an upgrade. I always do a format/clean install when installing an OS.