My laptop is a HP COMPAQ NX6320. The problem started days after when I reformated my laptop and installed the drivers. When I turn it on, and arrive at my desktop, the taskbar takes too long to show up. I mean, you will really press ctrl+alt+delete to show the explorer. When I turn it off, it takes forever too. What should I do? I am using windows xp sp2. What steps should I follow? Please help :)
I believe you're a service pack and several dozen hot-fixes behind. Microsoft XP is probably trying to load those over the internet in the background and will keep trying until it gets them. At that time you might get a responsive computer back - or not - depending on how much memory you have available. If you have 1024 MB then you're probably ok. 512 MB is iffy. 256 MB or less and you need to give up and find a different OS, maybe Windows 2000 since it has a much smaller footprint than XP.
The slow shutdown is almost certainly due to a rogue process that's taking a while to respond. Does it still take a long time to shutdown after you kill all your processes before shutting down?
Virus scan; http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
Anti malware; http://www.lavasoft.com/
If you could post a "hijack this" log it would help us diagnose your problem;