Speed Up Start Menu in Windows XP: "The Start Menu can be leisurely when it decides to appear, but you can speed things along by changing it's settings from the Registry:
Start Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
Locate the following key in the registry:
On the Edit menu, click Add Value, and then add the following registry value:
Close the registry editor.
Another easy way to speed up the display of the Start Menu Items is to turn off the menu shadow:
Right click on an open area of the Desktop.
Click on the Appearance tab.
Click on the Effects button.
Uncheck Show shadows under menus."