It was as I expected ... I cannot log in even after disconnecting one of the HDDs. I have tried reinstalling the entire OS via the DVD. I thought this would essentially destroy the remnants of the old stuff, but apparently this is not the case.
Am I missing something obvious? How can I essentially "erase" (not just delete) the remnants of my previous attempts? I actually removed the HDD and put in a new spare I had laying around ... this gave me a clean slate until I ran into problems again. Now I'm out of 'clean' HDDs so another method is needed.
Thanks again for any help ...