Sound registering with waves, breaks and distortions

I’ve been using Audacity for years and I honestly love it. I’ve never had problems… until now.

I just purchased a new HP Omen 17-ck1xxx laptop running Windows 11 Home. The mic is a Rode NT-USB.

The recordings don’t register all the words/sounds well. It waves in and out of registering the sounds. There’s distortion and segments missing. I attached a recording of me saying “Sensational!” twice. As you’ll hear, it’s quite broken.

I’ve installed all Windows updates
I’ve tried the mic in all 3 of the USB ports
I’ve played around with the mic dials
I’ve played around with all the possible recording levels in Audacity

Any help would be gratefully appreciated. Thanks.

The solution is as described in this 60-second video. Gotta love those Windows updates… not.