I concur, keep things lean and focused. Don't load stuff you don't need, kill any surplus stuff showing in the taskbar.
One thing you can try if you value speed over appearance is to Right click "My Computer" select "Properties" from the dropdown menu and select the "advanced" tab from the resulting System Properties window. Click the "Settings" button in the "Performance" section, this opens a new window called "Performance Options" Go to the Visual Effects tab and select "Adjust for best performance". This will leave you with a somewhat spartan W9X style appearance, but will free up a teeny iota of performance.