Cause: Windows is waiting for all running programs and services to stop before shutting down.
Solution: In XP, many programs (including Windows itself) install services that run in the background, waiting for some action from the user. Some of these may take a long time to shut themselves down after receiving the Shutdown command from Windows. Identifying the service or services causing this problem will mostly be a trial and error process. If you have installed some software recently it might have a service that is slow in exiting and is delaying the shutdown process.
To find out the list of services that are running on your system, click Start > Run, type in “services.msc” and click OK. This launches the Services Manager. Look through the list and identify any services related to software you have recently installed.
Stop the services one at a time and shut down the system till you identify the offending service. Restart all the other services and shutdown again just to make doubly sure you’ve stopped the right service. Note: Ensure that you don’t stop any Windows systems services and other essential services. Stopping critical and essential services will cause more problems. Also, you should be aware that if you stop a service related to any software you have installed, that particular software may not function correctly or not function at all. Check the vendor’s Web site for more details on the issue and any updates to correct it.