I really appreciate how you keep jotting down notes in this thread. It helps me so much because I can easily follow the process of adding a carputer since I'm a complete noob.
By the way, have you heard of a free program called AutoRuns?
It compiles a huge list of things started up when Windows boots. It will list your startup folder, msconfig.exe entries and scans your entire registry. It's a wonderful program and I think it may help you a lot. Also, maybe you wanna change your shell to something else besides explorer.exe.
Keep up the great work, this thread is extremely helpful.