Look at Windows Task Manager (easy access is to press CTRL+ALT+DEL at the same time). This will show you Applications, Processes and so on. Don't be tempted to cancel any.
However you will have much more than that running. Your Operating System (XP?) is made up of many many components and that's why it takes so long to load as it starts up each individual module. However when running XP hides them in Task Manager.
Quote from a web page: We'll be dealing with Windows XP services here. You will find these services in your Start, Programs menu named, "Administrative Tools". By Default Administrative Tools is not shown. You will have to enable it by opening Taskbar and Start Menu. Taskbar and Start Menu is accessible on the Classic Start Menu by clicking on Start, Settings, Taskbar and Start Menu. On the XP Start Menu you will have to get into the Control Panel and the Taskbar and Start Menu applet. Put a checkmark beside, "Display Administrative Tools. Click OK and then click on your Start, Programs, Administrative Tools and Services.
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