Also I cannot find the strings for the IMEI on the channel1 file using HXD, it simply isn't there :S.
Have you logged into the flasher program as administrator? If not then that would explain why the restore NV buttons are greyed out. Your phone won't boot into anything except FTM mode until you correctly restore NV memory with a valid IMEI.
Try completely uninstalling All ZTE drivers, reinstalling them and trying again. Try using a different computer. The phone not rebooting properly sounds like it might be a driver problem.
There are no strings for the IMEI - just a number, encoded as described. you have to edit the file at the offset - have a look at burstlams thread that I linked to for screenshots on how to do the editing.