It is quite normal to notice that loading time for booting Windows takes much longer than shutting down. The application of Security Policies, Desktop environment Settings, opening of Network Connections, etc. and then loading of the Startup programs in addition to loading the Operating System itself takes time and resources (which are finite) - especially from a cold boot versus a restart.
When you shut down, Windows does not need to apply Security Policy or Desktop settings, it simply closes out all programs, saves any changes to your settings, closes the desktop and finally closes out the Network Connections before shutting down.
All of this is dependent on the hardware devices that must be started, drivers loaded, and programs to be started. Then you must factor in the available RAM and CPU cycles - basically your processor speed and RAM capacity to load the OS and desktop environment and then start the programs. Without knowing these specifications, let's just assume that you are working with at least 512MB RAM and a 1.5 GHz processor. If you have greater specs than these, we can delve deeper; if you have lesser specs, then it may be time for a CPU and/or RAM upgrade.
Windows XP is large, it takes a lot of resources for a cold boot to get the OS up and running.
But i would start by checking into your Startup menu to see what programs are loading at boot; these can bog down your system resources as Windows must finish loading all of its program data into memory and then running it. You can find the Startup programs by clicking the following:
Start >> All Programs >> Startup
If there are programs that are loading while the OS is booting, they should show up here - these should be programs that you want to start and load when the OS boots. Check it out and see what shows up. If you see programs in that menu that you don't always need to have loaded at boot, simply delete them from this menu and see if that doesn't speed things up.
Another trick to avoid loading any programs at boot time, after inputting your password at logon, press and hold [Shift] to prevent any Startup menu programs from loading when you boot. This will allow more resources (CPU and RAM) to be distributed to loading the OS and desktop.
Edited by Cyb3r_Ninj@, 14 November 2007 - 10:11 PM.