Have you loaded any software/hardware recently that may have caused the problem. If so access the manufacturers web site as they probably have a fix for your problem. Disabling power management elements in the bios often does the trick.
I noticed when I went to XP's System Restore, it would not let me go back further than 4 days (when this started) because, it said, that "System restore" was either exclude from system restore monitoring, turned off or removed. How can this be ? And how can I reverse it ? I have a ant-virus prog running so it cant be that. Maybe some malicious thing inside some prog or other.
Sorry for not posting again earlier. If you haven't solved the problem yet try entering your Bios on start up looking for the section that deals with power management and disabling parameters such as Wake up on Lan and power on by PCI card.
Try turning off APM (auto power mangement) in the BIOS. You get into BIOS by either pressing the delete button several times at start up, or by pressing whichever function button (e.g. F2) your system says will get you into BIOS.... looking for things like "Wake up on LAN" can be a nightmare - I don't believe they exist on all PC's !? (Controversial statement there)
Thanks for the help, always appreciated. I have since formatted the HD because of an unrelated problem. Strange thing is, since I have put most of my stuff back on the problem is back, if nowhere near as bad - 35 seconds as opposed to 1minute 40 seconds.