PDF Creator reverting to default after importing custom settings file


We have many many users on 6 terminal servers using PDC creator terminal server edition, and some other users that have pdf creator free, that use custom settings.

we have them import a custom settings file when they first log into their machines, and this sets up pdf creator for our workflows. this has been working great for many years until last wednesday, 3/29/23.

now, both apps (TS and free) are reverting themselves back to default after a short amount of time, or after a log out and log in. we did renew our TS edition licensing the weekend prior to when the issues began, but our users who have the free edition are having the same problem.

i have no idea what is causing this all of a sudden.

OS versions dont seem to matter (server 2016 and windows 10), pdf creator versions didnt matter (v4 up to 5.0.3, TS edition and free), MS update levels dont matter (uninstalled march updates, no change), full uninstall and re-install of the free version didnt help.

trace logs seem to indicate the app is loading some default settings from somewhere. just cant figure out why it is doing this now all of a sudden.

im 3 days into troubleshooting, and havent made any progress. i filled out the support form yesterday but haven't received any responses, and this is hindering workflows for 140 people.

anyone else ever heard of or dealt with this kind of issue? any insights would be greatly appreciated!