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Another option is to use a registry cleaner. Old software that was installed and removed may still leave behind registry entries. When windows starts it runs through the registry, old entries to programs that don't exist will slow this process down. I CCleaner, although I have to run it a few times to get a clean registry; it works wonders. Run it ever few weeks to keep the laptop humming away.
You can also launch MSCONFIG from the start menu, then go through and uncheck any of the programs that run at launch which you don't need. Sometimes spyware hides here, but also memory-sucking junk like the Kodak photo updater, the Epson printer monitor, Adobe monitor for PDFs and Apple's Quicktime.