Edge & Chrome cannot connect to proxy server (Windows 10 Pro)


Have a problem that is driving me mad on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. A few days ago, and I hadn't installed any new software or apps, I discovered I could not connect to the internet with either Microsoft Edge or Chrome - kept getting the message: 'Cannot connect to proxy server', etc (Mozilla Firefox is my default web browser, which is fine). But you are unable to change the settings. For example, when with Edge you go to 'proxy settings', you are directed to Network & Internet - which has Manual Proxy setup as 'on' and the following address: 'http=;https=' and in the box below it says: '<-loopback>'. But if you try to set the Manual Proxy setup to 'off' it just automatically reverts back to 'on'.
Similarly with Chrome. When you go to Advanced Settings/Network/Change proxy settings, you are directed to the 'old-fashioned' IE-style Internet Properties/connections - but everything is greyed out except 'Add VPN'.
I've spent days researching this but come up with no solution. Obviously I've ran anti-virus/anti-Malware, etc software (SuperAntiSpyware, Malware Bytes, Comodo Internet Security, and so on) but they have found nothing.

This problem is a particularly pain in the arse as the Windows Update service no longer works ('cannot connect', etc) - the same goes for Java Updates, and a few other things as well (cannot add a new user account, for instance).

Any idea as to what might be wrong?



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