If you have many applications installed on your pc and have many services running in background, especially for the big ones: 3ds max, visual studio, etc. You may find that it will always take several minutes to restart or shutdown Windows XP. You could press the reset / power button, but it may do harm to your harddisk. The below method is more gently.
Bring up Task Manager
Press Ctrl+Alt+Del or Ctrl+Esc+Shift to launch Windows Task Manager.
Shutdown or Restart Windows XP in one second
Click the menu item “Restart” under “Shut Down” to restart system, and hold down the Ctrl button when you click “Restart”.
Click the menu item “Turn Off” under “Shut Down” to turn off system, and hold down the Ctrl button when you click “Turn Off”.
As you will see, Windows XP will not terminate services and applications, it will instantly shutdown or restart.
To speed up the progress of start / shutdown / restart, it is wise to turn off the unnecessary services use msconfig. However you may not have the administrator privilege on your work computer, thus you could use the above trick, you will not encounter the “shutdown waiting for active calls to complete” problem anymore.
This trick does not work on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. If you know other method, please comment below, thanks.