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I have been using Mandrake and I was trying to change the mouse scroll. I was doing Ctrl-Alt.-Backspace to restart X. Now I just get to command line, won't go into KDE GUI. Worked fine for about five Ctrl-Alt.-Backspace's then just suddenly stopped.
The space matters very much, it should not be there. The command is startx. Also, you shouldn't leave your gui by Ctrl+Alt+Backspace all the time unless there is a problem (or so I was told), leave it by whatever means is built in.
startx should start your kde alright. If after boot you always end up on the command line, then the graphical login manager (probably kdm) isn't working anymore. I don't know Mandrake that well, but it might have a menu option where you can set up the graphical login manager. This might be able to restore it.
the x server runs on your system and handles all accesses to the graphics hardware. the window manager runs over the top of x and handles things like minimizing and maximizing windows, etc. then on top of the window manager runs a desktop environment such as gnome or kde to provide a uniform "look and feel" as well as implementing those convenient features such as drag and drop.