RE: 1) I noticed you have vt.handoff=7 in the kernel command line. Have you had problems with VT switching? Does it work if you remove that parameter? Can you switch to a different TTY and run 'startx' and get a graphical desktop?
vt.handoff=7 was already there. I did not add it.
Have never had problems with VT switching.
Removing that parameter does not solve the problem.
Neither does removing 'splash quiet'
Can not switch to any TTY.