I had trouble configuring my Xcongif file, because I purchased an off the shelves Acer PC.
Obviously the video card was OEM and no search could detect no driver on the WWW.
So I just edited the config file with VI and enter « vesa » as generic graphic card,
And I never had any trouble with KDE or GNOME.
If you have trouble detecting your hard drive, look for the Bonzaï Debian distribution.
For NIC, pick an old 3COM 905 B TX ( for $10 )
For mouse, there still are non usb PS2 plug in the shops, same for the keyboard.
Finally the best mirror I could find for ftp debian is the dot.de one, to be entered manually in sources.list
Make sure you backup at least these two files, xf86config and sources.list, personnally I wrote
Them by hand, because sometimes you launch startx, then you open a character console,
Then you enter some apt-get command, which smartly turns off then on EVERY daemon,
And when it comes to killing KDE or Gnome, you find yourself blastered to outer space,
Because obviously you were inside the ship.
Hope this help.