The logs might tell something, but I am not proficient enough to access them even if I get a good LiveCD to work.
My Slax USB stick boots up without any obvious hitches. Slax doesn't seem to find the ethernet card or wifi. I'm not convinced the video card or window manager are the problem. With the power management stuff for laptops, I think something is timing out too soon. Vector may have cheat codes that are scripted differently (like noacpi may not be the same as acpi=off). I tried as many combinations as possible to boot the install, but post install, you have to let 'er run. I left the machine unattended for some time thinking maybe it was doing an fschk and needed time.
Anyway, I will wait 'til the bugs are worked out of VL7 before I try this again. If I can access the VLSOHO partition on this drive, I will try to retrieve those logs.
Thanks for all the patience and help.