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migration to wheezy and disaster recovery

Last week I decided to dist-upgrade from Squeeze to Wheezy, thinking I would get in ahead of the rush of stragglers. I found a nice document with lots of step-by-step instruction, and particularly how to create a log file of the steps that I actually performed. I thought I was following it but I will never know because something went wrong and my failed attempts at recovery have lost the log file. Nothing was working. I found a 'business card' CD for Squeeze 6.0.5, that installed Squeeze 6.0.7, which is to be expected. But all sorts of features haven't been configured to my habits. I am just now able to email this list, but via gmail, and I am quite new at using gmail. I think I know how to reply-to-list, but I really need help and apologize in advance for violations of Debian etiquette. In particular, this is being composed in Icedove, and I don't know how to limit the line length. Please, someone, tell me.

I had been running Gnome/Squeeze before the disaster. At one point I caught a glimpse of the new Gnome3 that comes with Wheezy. I don't want to install it and then figure out how to remove it. I think I won't be finnished with my recovery until I get Xfce installed in its place in Wheezy, and to do that is to install Xfce in Squeeze and then do a dist-upgrade to get to Wheezy. But ... I don't know how and can't find instructions. When I search with Google I find lots of hits to pages that say it can be done and most also say it is easy, but *how* ? What CDs do I need? What packages do I install under Squeeze? I am at a loss. To me, it is important that I keep my computer bootable at every step of the way. It is my only link for getting useful help. Suggestions for alternative plans are welcome, but please don't suggest switching to a different distribution that is more forgiving of user error. I don't believe there is one, do you?

My first firm question(s): What packages should I install from a Debian repository to get a working installation of Xfce that come up when the computer boots? What substeps are there to making this happen? A url that I can read?

Thanks for reading and for whatever suggestions you can make.


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