Take out the trash!
When I shut my laptop down it takes forever to get from selecting Shutdown on the menu to it actually asking what kind of shutdown I wanted. A quick look at filemon revealed the problem - on shutdown Windows is scanning every file in the recycle bin. And having just deleted a very large source tree with thousands of files that scan was taking forever.
After taking out the trash my laptop now shuts down at a more normal rate.
Sat Jun 24 2006 02:34:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)