Things that may cause slow shut-downs are anti-virus real-time scans and/or spyware/malware real-time scans. These normally work whilst your machine is running, and are perfectly OK.

If however, the problem did not arise until - say you loaded a piece of software - I would suspect that software, some software has spyware built into it - GAIN is one example.

If you can, remove ANY software like that, make sure it's all been cleaned out, and check the registry - that's a favourite place for them to put a false key, so even if you uninstall the programme, you may well have this on your registry still without knowing.

Get Ad-aware, Spybot S & D and Ewido, load them all, update them if necessary, log off the 'net, reboot to Safe Mode and run them all - with Ewido, run a full scan - detete anything they find. Reboot back to normal mode and run a full anti-virus scan.

As far as the registry is concerned, go to start/Run, type in "regedit" (without the quotes), then go to File/Export, you can use this to backup the whole registry, select a folder for backup and give the backup a unigue name.

If you removed anything like GAIN or any of the Instant Messenger programmes or even Peer-to-Peer software, go to Edit/Find and type in the name of the software, regedit will automatically scan through ALL the keys, and if it comes across something YOU KNOW has been uninstalled, then delete it, otherwise leave it alone.

Because of the risk, I use a small programme called RegCleaner it's freeware and you can download it from http://www.jv16.org/