Re: Concerning rebooting
Something's messed up clearly if explorer doesn't start automatically maybe try doing a repair install of windows. This won't format and start fresh it will just fix settings and files in windows hopefully to the point where explorer just starts. Or just stick explorer in the startup folder but I heard that explorer needs to start automatically first then the programs in the startup folder will initialize after that but I am not completely sure.
What version of windows are you using?
AMD Phenom II x6 1045T @ 2.7 Ghz, 8Gb Corsair Vengeance Ram, crucial M500 240GB SSD, 500GB WD
1.5 TB Seagate, XFX Radeon 6670 1Gb GDDR5, Windows 7 Professional 64bit