After running numerous cleanup tools, on my Windows XP notebook, uninstalling unneeded software, and still having a boot time of about 15 minutes -- and putting up with it for over a year -- I goog'd up 'free LINUX', downloaded a disc image for the free 'Mandriva LINUX One' package, and spent a day letting it install. Once installed, I then had to figure out how to get the wireless NIC working, which I ultimately did. Once configured, I then promptly locked myself out of my user ID and had to goog how to reset myself via the Root user. All of this occurred over the course of the weekend, when I could get a chance to swing by the little beastie as I was in between other home-related tasks.
Happily, all is well now, and I've got Firefox, OpenOffice.org, and a few other goodies installed. It's a very fast boot time and very quick performance.
New life out of an old dog.