I performed a complete data backup of four primary folders on 9-5-2013 and perform nightly differentials based on the status of the archive bit. I cleared the archive bit on all the appropriate files at the time of the full backup, so I was surprised to see them reset. I finally traced it down to a reboot scheduled also nightly as the culprit.
As long as I don't boot, the bits behave predictably. For the time being I have disabled the nightly reboot. In the meantime, I've rebooted without any start up folder programs to no avail. I wanted to boot into safe mode but that is virtually impossible to do with Windows 8. Complicating the issue is the fact that this is being done via remote connection for my brother who lives in Spain and is not completely computer literate. The convoluted method of getting to safe mode and having to "guess" what he's really seeing make debugging of this issue almost impossible.
Because of the general nature of the problem, and possibly because I am the only person with such a problem, I have not had any luck researching a cause or solution. Perhaps some kind sole has an idea or two for a solution.