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Put the mouse cursor on the bottom of the screen area. When you see the cursor change to the up and down arrow, press and hold left mouse button and drag the taskbar up. Then click right mouse button in taskbar, go to Properties and uncheck auto hide taskbar.
Perhaps your computer is hibernating instead of going into standby which takes a little longer to wake up from. While you are playing plugs and cables it give it enough time to come out of hibernation.
When the computer is in this mode the USB ports turn off which disables keyboard and mouse so the only way to wake up the computer is to press the power button on the computer itself.
One tell tale sign a computer is in hibernation is that the power light on the computer will slowly blink.
HOw about the light on the tower? if its stedy green then the tower is ok then run a self test on monitor if it passes the monitor is also ok then unplug the power cable from the monitor and data cable also and press and hold the power button for 10 sec and then connect the monitor to the system
In windows xp go into start menu, then into control panel then click on appearance and themes, then move your mouse over to mouse pointers click on it , uncheck "enhance pointer precision, and click apply, that will stop the mouse from acting crazy, this will work with dell mouse pointers and most.
Yeah, there it... It's called a AD board. It that piece of component were you plugged your VGA or DVI cables to it. Panel scratchs repair kits, not recommended. Beside your panel could be already damaged by this problems you had. Replacing the AD board gonna cost you though...any where from $70.00 or more... My recommendation, just get a new one...saved you the headached and $$$.
Have a nice day!