After a recovery from a seemingly unrelated problem with my XP VM wherein there was a corrupted suspend state, the VM was recovered, but started taking a very long time to fully boot. Whereas in the past bootup times were a minute or less, now it was taking about 6 minutes.
After many initial attempts of stopping startup programs and services, I finally completely removed ZoneAlarm Security Suite entirely. Another change was that at the same time the slow bootup started, ZoneAlarm updated to version 93_014.
In any case, removing ZoneAlarm completely restored boot times to normal.
I am thinking that as one alternative I might run without ZoneAlarm. Or as an alternative, rebuild my VM from scratch. I am not too happy with either of these alternatives, and I am posting this question to see if there might be some other solution.