This story about speeding up Windows shut-down time has two parts - one for mom and other one for the geek.
If you hate technical details (like your mom), just download this tiny UPHClean installer (User Profile Hive Cleanup Service) from the Microsoft Download Center and execute the UPHClean-Setup.msi file.
Once you install, don't worry if you don't find the program link in the XP Start Menu. UPHClean installs as a service that runs in the background and automaticallys start with Windows. To check if the service is running, type services.msc in the Run box and search for the service (see screenshot)
Now for the geek - what does User Profile Hive Cleanup Service actually do ?
When you run programs and open files on your computer, they create connections to the Windows Registry. If the application closes without releasing the open registry handle, it leads to problems when you are logging off the computer or even rebooting.
The problem becomes more severe if your roaming profile is stored on a server and not on the local computer. Until all the open registry connections are closed, the roaming profie won't be copied to the remote server and your system won't shut down.
Agree you can press the Power button but that may corrupt the registry and you could face profile syncronization issues if you work across multiple computers.
This UPHClean service checks for leaked connections to the registry and releases them accordingly. So your computer will shut down faster.
By default UPHClean takes action to allow profiles to unload. You can
choose to have UPHClean only report what processes it finds preventing profiles
Download Link [no verification required]. More Technical Details about UPHCleaner here. Found via IntelliAdmin.