Strange (to me) Netrunner behavior

After installing from live version, everything works. I have the password-less login option selected and the system boots to desktop, bypassing the login step. Very good distro, although a bit light (as advertised). When I add SurfShark VPN, VLC, Google Chrome… maybe others but those for sure, they all work after install but if I reboot the system it now has a login screen. After entering the password the system goes off into space. I can do a ctrl-alt-F1 and log in as the user and get a CLI prompt but I cannot start the graphics, Startx hangs, init5 hangs, etc.

Some of these packages look like they load a crapload of stuff that seems to be more than what would be needed for just that program. I am open to suggestions about how to fix the problem, up to the obvious don’t load anything. Any ideas?

Thanks …

Is the Xorg still open? Did you check /var/log/Xorg.0.log?
Otherwise check the .xsession-errors file to see if you see an issue.
Last would be figuring out which of the apps is causing it by one by one removing the applications you installed