I realize I may have caused some confusion, so will provide more detail: There would only be a problem with the "Light" install version, in default configuration which does not include hal. If pcmanfm-mod is compiled without this flag, it will not run unless hal is installed. In the "Full" install, you do get hal.
USB sticks: In Light they should be handled by udev and the devmon script. Devmon needs to be loaded by the window manager. When it works right, you should get a pop-up about removable drives.
@sledgehammer: if you have hal installed and like the way your current version is working, realize that upgrading will remove the device list in the left hand panel.
More 20/20 hind vision.. I should have used a different term for install option #2. Now we have "Light-Light"
I also meant to include vl-qwikpicks in the heavier versions and it escaped me. Just goes to prove it's hard to proofread your own writing.