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This sounds like a defective monitor profile. Are you on Windows 10 by any chance? It's known to install low quality monitor profiles when doing updates.
Try setting the monitor profile to sRGB. Go to Control panel > Color management, add the sRGB profile, then set it as Default.
Make sure Use my settings for this device is checked. Restart Photoshop for the change to take effect.
If this fixes the problem, you should ideally calibrate your monitor with a hardware calibrator, which will create a profile that accurately describes your monitor.
the version of ACR which opens when I use the Filter>ACR option gas no link for ACR settings at the bottom, just "cancel" and "OK" buttons, so no way of seeing what the settings in ACR area.
ACR and the Camera Raw filter are two different things.
ACR is designed for raw files, and the Workflow options are required because some decisions have to made about how the new, rendered file should be rendered. Like color space, bit depth and dimensions.
The Camera Raw filter is designed for files that have already been rendered (like jpg, tiff, etc), so the Workflow options are not relevant.
IOW, the Camera Raw filter works like any other filter in the Filter menu.
I can say no more than many thanks for this simple,clear and 100% correct response!