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Projects failing to open

By profession I am an IT manager and I have extensive experience is networking, operating systems, those things related to local and various size networks, and troubleshooting network and desktop weird sh*t.

I run a solid machine I7-10700 CPU, 64GB Memory, a 1tb M.2 drive and 3 4tb drives for storing data. My motherboard is ASUS ROG Maximus XII hero. My video card is a Geforce GTX 1060.
UE 4.25.4 refuses to open my project files. This started about two weeks ago

This is driving me nuts. Projects fail at 93% when attempting to open them.

"Unhandled Exception: EXCEPTION_ACCESS_VIOLATION reading address 0xffffffff

UE4Editor_Engine
UE4Editor_Engine
UE4Editor_Engine
UE4Editor_Engine
UE4Editor_CoreUObject
UE4Editor_CoreUObject
UE4Editor_CoreUObject
UE4Editor_CoreUObject
UE4Editor_CoreUObject
UE4Editor_UnrealEd
UE4Editor_UnrealEd
UE4Editor_UnrealEd
UE4Editor_UnrealEd
UE4Editor_UnrealEd
UE4Editor_UnrealEd
UE4Editor_UnrealEd
UE4Editor_UnrealEd
UE4Editor
UE4Editor
UE4Editor
UE4Editor
kernel32
ntdll"

When the problem recurred I setup a Win10 virtual workstation on my system. I installed all service packs, the UE launcher, the UE engine 4.25.4 and the Perforce client. In the virtual environment I was able, albeit very and painfully slowly, open our project file entirely without error. The slowness was due to the project not having a proper dedicated GPU to work with (working in this now). Even confirming that it opened and loaded in the VM (virtual machine), the project consistently failed on my normal non-VM workstation.

Cutting back all of my services to the absolute minimum I was able, after reboot, to open the project reliably even though the “minimum” prohibited internet access (so the launcher wasn’t being used). After a few hours of manually restarting service groups, opening UE and attempting to open the project, I couldn’t isolate the point of failure. Even executing the launcher without logging in, with of the Win10 non-VM running, failed to open the project successfully.

The conclusion, something in the interaction of the Microsoft networking and the UE Launcher is causing this issue (and its not my anti-virus).

All of my drivers are current. All of Win10’s SP’s are installed. DirectX is current. My nVidia display card has its most recent drivers and utilities and has been heavily tested with furmark. My hard drives have all been stress tested and retested.

With the millions of people using Unreal engine and the extensive network of professionals at EPIC, someone has had to see this before and there has to have been be a resolution.

Anyone?