Yes, OP, I only used one underscore.
Surprisingly, it does boot to the desktop and I've gone it and seen that all .db* files are gone before I enter the --rebuilddb command (though I did not include looking for hidden files). I will try your latest recommendations and see if that helps.
Failing that, I will do a reinstall with the new test iso.
One question on that Tex -- does the default kdm splash screen that is used in that iso work with smaller netbook screens or will I have to load to a command line and change the splash screen? The last time I checked, the brushed metal kdm screen would not test properly on my desktop and we've assumed it is because of the smaller size (1024*600).
Thanks to you both for the support,