". I've run Spybot and Malwarebytes. They've picked up a few things, but have resolved nothing. A scan with AVG also fixed a few things,"
What are these things? Without knowing what was found I'd be guessing (badly) what to do next.
Also, EXPLORER is well known to go 100% on corrupt images, avi files and more. I have a demo where I copy a corrupt AVI file to the desktop and the usual IT staffer can't recover the machine since the account is so locked up with Explorer trying and failing to render the AVI for a thumbnail.
But let me share how I fix that. Remember I know how I broke it but let's say I didn't. All I need to do is treat the machine as if the profile is corrupt.
Don't know about that? Here's your research words for google.
VISTA CORRUPT PROFILE
Hello, I'm looking for some assistance on my HP laptop running Vista Home Premium. My computer was working fine up until now. When I boot into Windows the computer immediately becomes unusable. Looking at the Task Manager I see that Explorer.exe is using up massive amounts to the CPU, constantly running at 90-100%. The start menu becomes unresponsive and any program I start immediately becomes unresponsive. When I boot into safe mode everything works perfectly fine. I've run Spybot and Malwarebytes. They've picked up a few things, but have resolved nothing. A scan with AVG also fixed a few things, but once again, to no avail. I would love assistance with this problem because it is driving me crazy that I am unable to use my laptop.