A recently set up USB external drive included a software called 'Intellistor' XP did not like it at all so it was removed. Since that time , at boot up the C drive takes an long time in search for... what? before the Windows start up bar comes up.
A collegue [with win 2000] experienced the same - 'Inellistor' seemingly causes this long search. In each case removal did not cure the long search Nor has all the system, restore or registery clean, or other clean up used so far effected a cure.