Well, you should first update your operating system. (XP should be at SP3 at this point.) Go to Windows Update and press Custom to ensure you have even the optional updates, especially for your system's hardware.
Also ensure that you have the latest version of Quicktime from Apple.
If that doesn't work, you shoudl uninstall Premiere Elements and reinstall it. (You won't lose any work in progress.)
Beyond that, other factors could be how much free, defragmented space is on your C drive (You should keep at least 25-30 gigs free and defragmented) and what type of camcorder your video is coming from.
Sorry about the delay.
Turns out, I already have SP3 (my mistake). I have installed all the latest
Windows updates, Quicktime updates, etc. I have 150 GB of free hard drive
space, recently defragged.
The video is coming from a JVC GR-D72U mini-DV camcorder (standard def).
As I said, everything seems to work fine (capture, edit, export). It's only
when I try to exit the program that it hangs up.
I can certainly uninstall and reinstall if necessary. Is there anything
else I should be checking?
Try deleting the preferences file and then relaunch and work and close the application.
"Prefs" files can be found in this location
Type %appdata% \Adobe\Premiere Elements\8.0 in your run prompt.
Also, if it is possible, before you quit the application , copy the "yourprojectname.LOG" file. (this would be present at the same location where your project (.PREL) file is saved.
Upload that data here, for us to check as what steps you are performing in the project.