Whenever I shut down my laptop, it is a very painful experience... one by one I watch a series of programs die a painful death, as they refuse to shut down gracefully. The error messages about "Windows Stations" that are closing are very useful, but somehow the entire process (which sometimes involves clicking a few "End Task" buttons, and maybe even selecting Shut Down all over again because half of my system is still breathing) reminds me a lot of watching someone you love learning to drive with your stick-shift sportscar. You try to smile and focus on the end result, but each event, each horrible noise or lurching movement, forces a wince out of you.

I really like both of the "people" involved (my laptop and Windows XP), but watching the horrible process that occurs when I turn my machine off is almost enough to make me stick with standby only from this point on.