I went into the following location of the registry

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogon
and the String key was there for 'shell' with value of 'explorer.exe'

however still would not run on startup.
I also went into the location of
HKLU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Winlogon
the string key for 'shell' was not there, so I added it and still would not run

now I'm at a lost
Windows 7 Home Prem

explorer.exe is not internet explorer. What are you trying to accomplish?

You only need the HKLM value to launch explorer. Will it run at all, ie. can you launch it from Task Manager, or cmd console? ...just enter explorer.exe.
If you use internet explorer to navigate to the /Windows folder, does explorer.exe exist? Will it launch if you dclick it? Enter C:\Windows in the address bar.... you should be able to launch explorer from there, also.... enter C:\windows\explorer.exe