Note: I am not a complete newbie to this all, as I had successfully hacked my Dell Mini 9 to Leopard.
I just received a refurb Dell Mini 10v (with 2GB of RAM, 160GB HDD and an extended battery--paid through the nose to get all that bling...~$500!). I made a new USB key with NetBootMaker, and loaded the standalone (purchased) image of Snow Leopard. I also downgraded the BIOS from A06 to A04. Successfully (well, ALMOST) installed the OS, but the HDD icon never mounted on the Desktop (though, I did get it to show, finally, using Nicster's tip: "If you click on the desktop you should see FINDER next to the apple. Click finder, drag down to preferences under general you can tell finder to show all hard disks on the desktop...."--Thanks for that, Nicster!). But, though "About this Mac" said it was the Startup Disk, it was not recognized in System Preferences.
Nor could I update it to 10.6.2 with the downloaded Combined Update. At first, having used NetbookInstaller 0.8.3 RC3, I got the error message that it did not qualify for upgrade, and then, after having used NetbookInstaller 0.8.3 RC4, the error message was that this was not the Startup Disk (but, of course, it was the disk that booted me into OS X).
Strange, though, I was able to update iTunes using the Updater. Earlier (I went through several installations, trying different things, none of which worked), in desperation, I had tried updating to 10.6.2 with the built-in incremental Updater, and that was a disaster, just as predicted. As I recall, when I tried to reboot, the computer kept recycling through one restart cycle after another.
My guess is that there is some .kext (kernel extension) that is responsible for this, but I have no idea what it might be.
Any clues would be most gratefully received.