The trigger clearly was the Microsoft updates. And my statement that FTM2012 is "certified" compatible with Windows 7 was affirmed by the Ancestry tech guy. I would also add that a check of the Microsoft "Community" list-serv revealed that other FTM users have in fact experienced the problem.
I am not suggesting that the Microsoft updates "caused" the problem. But there is no doubt that they were the catalyst, perhaps because of interaction with other software. I am a writer, not a technology professional But if all my software is supposed to be individually compatible, then it should be the vendors' responsibility to make sure that they also be on the look-out for problems arising from interactions.
Thanks for your helpful note and friendly attitude!