...and just in case it comes up, "so why aren't you running the straight Debian_xfce release," I tried. It couldn't recognize my network interface (RJ45 or Wifi), and when I copied the drives onto a flash-drive, no USB devices were recognized. This, I think, is why distro's are going to around for a long time.
for quite a while I could not get internet on straight Debian 6 xfce, which is the Stable/squeeze.
finally I got it working when I got myself to learn and do Debian netinstall iso from the Testing branch. It has to do with firmware preloading in my case for broadcom/tg3. Your NIC might be different.
Anyway if you are interested and have not tried Testing branch, here is the link http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-builds/
when I copied the drives onto a flash-drive, no USB devices were recognized
Perhaps you use USB flash for installation? If yes, then Debian saw that as 'CDROM' during installation and provide an entry to fstab for /dev/sdx, when you reboot and run it, USB drive become not accessible. You can just comment out or remove that entry in fstab .