The Problem: You set up your PC with a specific folder view, with Explorer -> Tools -> Folder Options -> View / Folder View / Apply to all Folders. However, even after you do that, every time you open a folder, it does not look like you configured it. An alternate problem is that you no longer can see ore enable the common tasks in folders.
Why: You have a group policy that is disabling that capability (I know, it isn't documented that this is a side-effect... but after fighting with it for over a month, I finally figured it out).
Solution: Go to the appropriate Group Policy and configure:
User Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Explorer / Turn on Classic Shell. Set to DISABLED.
It is possible that other policies also impact this, such as active desktop; I have it set with all active desktop items disabled except for this one.