Been doing some reading and ther are other people seeming to have something similar. The Thinkcentre screen waits a long time to go away and I have made sure there are no USBs in the boot options and I just installed the latest BIOS ending in 60. Also there is a long wait after the MS XP scrolling green bar goes away. I hear the scanner recycle and there is still a long wait of maybe a minute or two before it continues. Watching the disc light on the CPU, it flashes maybe 1 each second througout that whole time until finally windows continues. I have not unplugged my external USB external discs yet.
Well this is sad to hear that you are having similar problems. I had hoped it was simply a power issue for mine.
My system also seems to start extremely slow very similar to what you describe. This seemed to happen after I installed a new PCIe graphics card. I thought it might be that I am just pushing the power source to its limit and had hopes that it would go away when I upgraded.
---------------------------------- ThinkCentre M51 (8143-WNV): Intel Pentium 4 (HT), 4 GB RAM, 40 GB 7200 RPM SATA HDD, PCI Tower (4x5), Intel GMA 900, 48x32x48x16x CD-RW & DVD combo, Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet, Win XP Pro, US Robotics voice/data modem PCI, USB 2.0 PCI card