No system startup screen - i.e., no possibility of pressing F2 to boot into BIOS setup.
This is particularly critical since Mint 9 inherits the Ubuntu bug where the system doesn't see USB drives - in my case, an external USB hard drive and a USB stick.
The solution offered when I posted about that indicated I should either run the command
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sudo modprobe -r floppy
Because neither solution works, I'm pretty much stuck. I would strongly advise anyone using USB drives to wait for a real solution before installing Mint 9. Looks my only option is to reinstall Mint 8. ?...restart the computer and next to the "Floppy" setting in the BIOS I selected "Disabled" instead of "Legacy Floppy" - problem solved, as soon as Ubuntu booted, automount was working again and my USB devices were showing up in Nautilus again.
P.S. Actually, Mint 9 did 2 (two) very bad things on install. It over-wrote my /home directory, would you believe, even though I told it not to format it in the installer. I did back up critical files, but some fairly important stuff is lost - my mistake, granted, but highly unexpected.
P.P.S. On the ThinkPad T43, I can't press the "blue ThinkPad button" during startup to "bypass normal startup options." This is the screen that appears when you first turn on/reboot the laptop. In Mint 8 I believe it worked.