Thanks very much for testing it, though I'm sorry things haven't worked out so well
The boot-time messages, if any, tend to be about issues during hardware enumeration, as you correctly guessed.
The following is only useful if you've got a keyboard/mouse that work (at least ALT, TAB, cursor keys, ENTER are necessary for keyboard navigation), but under the 'Administration' menu item (ALT-TAB should raise the top menu bar) there's a 'Console' application, that should show all of the boot messages inside.
Very strange that the keyboard only partially works! I would expect it to work properly, or not at all.
I have had reports of troubles running the software on older, slower processors. I have some less-powerful testing laptops, but they all work, generally speaking, before I do a release.
It might be worth hot-plugging your other USB HDD to see if it gets detected. You'd have to close the PL window, and cancel the shutdown dialog, to have any new disks show up in a new PL window (I should find a way to get PL to detect a hot-plug in the partitioning software)