Thanks for clarifying, Steven. Bringing some points I was making in another thread.
So the files are not removed from the playlists when removed from Windows Explorer but rather when scanning folders for new files. At the end I am asked if I want to remove the dead links from the library and saying yes to this also removes them from the m3u files.
Previously this was not the behaviour. Would it be possible to have the prior behaviour back? Maybe an additional tick in the remove dead links dialog to allow us to decide between library and playlists would be the best of both worlds? I understand some people may prefer that playlists are 'fixed' but others may prefer to leave the m3u files intact whilst still using the rescan functionality to fix the library (and identify missing files though playlists. This proved a life saver in the past when a my music HD got corrupted and this behaviour allowed me to find all the tracks I lost through an 'All Music' playlist I maintain.
Additionally, wondering if it is possible to have the sort by in playlists missing tracks put the ones with missing links at the top or bottom as it used to do. This is really handy to spot missing tracks (if the behaviour stated before is brought back).
Hope this makes sense.