"The other evening I turned off my Windows XP system and busied myself with other matters, only to find the machine churning away several minutes later as it worked through its shutdown process. I could've understood the delay if it were installing updates, or even if some program or service had hung the system. But this was a typical PC shutdown, and it was taking forever.
"There's gotta be a better way," I thought, and after doing a little research, I found a bunch of Registry tweaks that reset Windows to close shop like it's late for the bus ride home. Keep in mind, any changes to the Registry can be troublesome, so you may want to make these alterations one or two at a time just to make sure they don't futz up the works (it'll also be easier to diagnose any problems that may arise). And for sure back up the Registry by creating a restore point before you begin."