Unfortunatly, no. If explorer is not set as the shell, running it will only open a single explorer window (which yes, you can embed). However, I do not know of a way to launch the explorer shell (with the start menu, task bar, tray icons, etc.) without modifying the registry and changing it back once you are done.
The explorer shell sucks to use on a 7" TS anyway. This is why we need a light-weight shell replacment that still allows us to use EVERY program (even if it only works through a tray-icon or right-click context menu).