Regarding the network card, I doubt it would add that much time to your boot-up. Now, your network settings might--since the NIC won't always be connected to a network, don't have it use any networked services, otherwise your system will get cranky. Specify an IP address, don't use DHCP. Don't map any networked drives. I haven't really played with ME, but I know in 95 you had to screw with things quite a bit to get the computer to log itself onto the network (well, onto the workgroup, anyway) automatically. The same might be true of ME, but I rather hope not (one assumes Microsoft does improve their products).