If I'm not mistaken, Mint is based on Ubuntu. I'm running Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 on an Acer Aspire One, so maybe the following helps for point 3.
What you describe is the grub menu. I don't think that this is a misconfiguration; it's a fully normal behaviour for a desktop OS and it's the way Mint sets it up. Ubuntu also configures it that way if you use the normal desktop version instead of the UNR version.
Below is part of my grub menu that defines how grub behaves. You can edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst (e.g. with sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst
in a terminal).
## default num
# Set the default entry to the entry number NUM. Numbering starts from 0, and
# the entry number 0 is the default if the command is not used.
# You can specify 'saved' instead of a number. In this case, the default entry
# is the entry saved with the command 'savedefault'.
# WARNING: If you are using dmraid do not use 'savedefault' or your
# array will desync and will not let you boot your system.
## timeout sec
# Set a timeout, in SEC seconds, before automatically booting the default entry
# (normally the first entry defined).
# Hides the menu by default (press ESC to see the menu)
The line default
defines which menu option is started after a timeout specified in the line timeout
. Your menu will probably have a timeout of 10 seconds; you can shorten this to 2 or 3 seconds (don't make it zero). The line hiddenmenu
hides the menu and that's probably the one that you want to add (if it's not there).
Check your menu.lst against the posted config above.
I've never investigated the keyring manager so can't help there.