The unit was a new Toshiba Satellite A135-S4487 (1.66 MHz Core 2 Duo T5500, 2GB RAM, 256 MB integrated graphics). I won't be able to provide a "before" boot time, but my general impression is that it was surprisingly slow with the stock startup configuration and McAfee Security Suite installed. I monitored the RAM use and found that it used right around 1 GB at startup. I then disabled non-system and non-security items from the startup configuration and verified that they were still functional after a re-boot. When all is said and done, the basic RAM use with a lean startup configuration is around 600-650 MB (wi-fi and security running), the boot time is 50 seconds, and all of the applications kicked off the startup are fully functional on demand.
It's a little puzzling to me why manufacturers load their startups the way they do. Maybe there's some contractual obligation to the parties who are franchised to put their stuff on the machines. But the result (as you well know) is world-class buyer's remorse as people plug in their shiny new 1 GB machines and find that they run like turtles. I would guess that at least a few returns have resulted and at least a few people have soured on Vista. But if people are aware of this situation, they'll at least not feel that they need 2GB RAM for basic word processing, e-mail, and web surfing when a well-configured 1 GB machine is adequate for their limited system demands.