After extensive driver and system service disabling, I found that disabling a system startup process called, "Workstation" completely fixes the problem. No more 5 minute wait! All my internet, etc. seems to work fine after disabling this "Workstation" process.
My major concern is that on the Services Guide for Windows XP (http://www.theeldergeek.com/services_guide.htm
), it says to absolutely NEVER DISABLE the "Workstation" system process because I will lose all internet connectivity, etc.
So, how come my internet still works fine? Man am I confused. If someone can shed some light on what this Microsoft Certified "Workstation" system service actually does and why it is slowing down my system to a 5 minute Welcome screen with no hard drive activity, please get back to me ASAP!