I've been browsing some hidden files and now have a somewhat better understanding of this malware's nature. It has surreptitiously turned my system into a virtual machine running some other OS in the background, presumably Linux. It has created a hidden boot sector inaccessible to the Windows OS labeled "\\?\PhysicalDrive." The hidden partition is formatted in something called Novell Netware 286. There is also a second hidden partition, "\\.\PartmgrControl" formatted in FAT16. All Windows reboots and even system restore are directed to a hidden copy of the bootable Vista disc image "\bcd\hives\bin\efi_cdboot\bcd." Thus the "virtual machine based rootkit" survives the phony factory disc image restore.
Ingenious, really. I will patiently await your help while continuing to uncover as much information as I can.