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As long as you have a network card installed that is in use, you can't get rid of the network login. If you don't have a NIC, you can make it go away by using and confirming a null password (don't type one in, click OK, and confirm it when prompted) the easiest way to eliminate the need to hit cancel or punch in a password is to use TweakUI for Win98 to automatically log in when the prompt appears. TweakUI's part of PowerToys released by Microsoft - a bunch of utilities that the geeks at MS put together so the big shots figured they might as well release them and refuse to support them. There's all kinds of cool stuff in the PowerToys package and a ton of cool tweaks just in TweakUI.
I haven't kept track of where it's posted on their site 'cause I've had it archived for so long, and I recall the last time I went looking for it it was kinda hard to find, so I threw a copy up on my FTP server - you can download it here.
Installation is, being stuff developed by MS internal staff, completely non-standard - you right-click on the .ini file for the tool you want to install and click install from the context menu.
As far as the long start up - I've seen canceling the login cause longer than normal start up so using the automatic login may help. Have you used msconfig to verify that you know everything that is firing up on boot?

Good luck.
 
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