Well, I tried what you suggested for xserver, went through all the questions, but had no luck.
I wanted to retrieve my documents, pictures, downloaded themes from gnome-look.org, and other goodies. So I booted into PCLinuxOS and was able get to my LinuxMint /home directory to put everything I needed onto both a thumb-/ flashdrive and burned them onto a cd (for extra measure).
I reinstalled (30 minutes), copied all my stuff in the new /home folder, used Synaptic to delete all the Asian and MidEastern fonts and downloaded the msttfonts, changed my Theme to LiNsta3 and my icons--a different theme (45 minutes). Put OpenOffice Quickstarter on the systray, then dragged and dropped other shortcuts onto the panel from the Cassandra menu.
So now all is good to go!
I've always been a KDE guy, but Cassandra is the best Gnome I've ever experienced! (My Mandriva club expires in 30 days and I'll probably not renew now that I have LM Cassandra and PCLinuxOS. Unfortunately, Bianca KDE was unstable on the laptop.) I now will spend equal time in LM Gnome and PCLOS KDE for fun!
Thanks for all your help....AND from now on I'll back up all my files on a regular basis! (Thank goodness I'm a distro "slut" and can get into each of them from the other on my lappy!)