Power it down & see if holding the Shift key at bootup helps.
Might be time to replace the PRAM Battery, 4 years is close to their lifespan, far less if ever without AC power, & can cause strange startup problems...
Tough without the Install disc, but some things to try...
Does it boot to Single User Mode, CMD+s keys at bootup, if so try...
Repeat until it shows no errors fixed.
(Space between fsck AND -fy important).
Resolve startup issues and perform disk maintenance with Disk Utility and fsck...
Does it boot into Open Firmware with CMD+Option+o+f ?
reset-nvram (press Enter)
set-defaults (press Enter)
reset-all (press Enter)
Have you done a PRAM reset, CMD+Option+p+r...
In fact, do 3 in a row, takes a bit of time.
CMD+s --> startup tone and the logo screen, but then it freezes
CMD+Option+o+f -->provides a prompt to either boot or shut down. When I type boot, the logo screen appears and then it freezes.
CMD+Option+p+r --> produces a blank screen with the startup tone. I continued to hold down the key combination waiting for a picture on the screen. The tone sounded a second time and I released the keys. Then the logo screen appeared where the boot process froze.
I have asked the original owner about the software that was included and should have it sometime next week.
In the meantime, I'm ordering a new battery.
Does the serial number fall within any of these ranges:
- G8412xxxxxx- G8520xxxxxx
- YM412xxxxxx - YM520xxxxxx
- VM440xxxxxx - VM516xxxxxx
If so, the logic board may well have a near-fatal flaw that is not economical to repair unless you live within driving distance of Eugene OR USA.
The affected units are eMacs with 1.25Ghz processors and USB 2.0 logic boards. There are some rare 1.0ghz eMacs on USB 2.0 logic boards that were sold only to the edu-market that may be affected; the serial number will tell. There was an Apple Repair Extension Program to fix the problem but it expired over two yeas ago.
Apple article showing where to find the serial number:
If you serial number is NOT among the dead, please use it to find out exactly what variant eMac you have using the chart in the article. There are two broad families within the eMac model name, with different troubleshooting issues. Knowing the exact variant early-on will make it easier for the community to help you.