but have not used Live USB creator in a while and decided to try it recently to load pclos-lxde-2012.08 and vectorlinux 7.0 xfce on SD cards for use on netbooks.
I have no idea what might happen when you try to use LiveUSB Creator to install a distro other than a PCLOS one. It is not designed to install other than PCLOS releases.
Doesn't the creator automatically create a bootable partition?
No, it does not create any partition, nor interfere with the structure of the partitions or the drive.
I cannot make any real comment on the rest of the post as there is too much going on to get any real idea what might be affecting anything.
I can only suggest one route to trouble-shoot this ........
take a 'spare' USB stick
using Gparted from the repo, delete the partition table, and create a new one
create a partition suitable for use (ext format)
Mark the partition with the boot flag (some hardware requires a boot flag set or it will not boot from the USB device)
When complete, close Gparted & extract the USB device.
Using a known good ISO of an official PCLOS release (2012.08 is a good candidate), and a reasonably up to date PCLOS install, run the LiveUSB Creator 0.9.7 and install from the ISO.
Ensure the application completes correctly.
Extract and reinsert the USB drive.
List the directories and files on the root of the device and post back if it will not boot.
Please do no more than install the PCLOS ISO and make no further changes to the device or its files, so that we might have definite knowledge of all that has been done, without any outside influence.
Report back the results of the above procedure.
Note: For removable devices with more than one partition and which might be required for use with Windows, mark the Win formatted partition as the bootable one. Linux does not use the boot flag, but some hardware and Windows have this requirement.