Problems at shutdown divide at three places. 1 – Are you on a network and how many mapped drives do you have? 2 – Is it XP Home, XP Pro, SP1, SP2 And what peripherals are directly attached? 3 – Is this a new problem, if so what programs have you installed that caused the problem?
In reverse order – the number one cause of bad behavior (slow startup, slow shutdown, slow execution) is malware. Viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware all are using your computer without regard for you. If you are on a highspeed connection it will feel sluggish. If you are on dial-up it will be painfully slow as the malware phones home. Freezing/delaying shutdown is classic for this condition. 2nd is Patches/updates that confuse HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer). APM/ACPI functions interface motherboard to ‘Windows’. Changes to BIOS or peripherals can hang up shutdown very easily. 3rd is the classic ‘networked XP’ hangup. In Windows explorer ensure that the ‘find network shares and printers’ box is NOT checked. [Windows Explorer - Tools - Folder Options - View]
There might be a problem with the amoutn of RAM and Processor used by your computer system. It is obviously a delayed processing problem, there might be a virus issue with your system. So, the best thing to do is to make sure that your computer system is smoothly running.