for those looking to decrease memory load from xp
1. Windows 95/98/2K/NT all run a shell, which gives you a taskbar, windows, and all the basic gui stuff. this shell is called explorer.exe .
2. explorer.exe tends to use up a lot of resources, and really is not necessary for a lean install. what's cool is that you can install all your drivers and programs, disable the default shell, and actually still run your other programs. all programs/drivers/system operations that normally run will still run, sans explorer.
i must say, it isn't exactly user friendly because you have to use ctrl+alt+delete to reach task manager and run your programs [if you know where they are, ur straight]. but if you have your frontend loading automatically with windows startup, this isn't an issue.
3. if you are not fond of the idea of not having a gui, you can still unload the explorer resource hog and load a sweet lite gui shell from here http://shellcity.net/content10.htm. There are a lot of shells here that you can pick from, from heavy ones [desktopX], to really lite ones [EVWM]...
NOTE!! this suggestion requires you to mess with your registry. if you do not know what you are doing, your computer will be FUBARed. most or all of these shells come with quick howtos...complete with the reg tags you hafta change.