my emac was "frozen" in a word document so I turned it off and then on manually. It did not return to my desktop. The screen is grey with the finder icon blinking with a question mark. Help. Now what do I do to get back into my emac?

Hi jeane, and welcome to DaniWeb.

The first thing you could do in your efforts to get that eMac going again would be to visit the Mac forum section for your particular version of MacOS, and ask for help from some of the experienced people who hang out there.

http://www.daniweb.com/techtalkforums/forum11.html

I had a similar problem with my emac and ended up having to reinstall my software and lost everything. I would first suggest trying a utility program, such as norton to try to figure out what is going on before you do anything (which I did not have here at home) ...otherwise you may end up losing everything that was stored on your harddrive, such as in my case. Also, when you freeze in a document, I would do an apple, option, esc., then reboot my computer. Try that and see if that will help.

Boot from the installer CD and run Disk Utility to attempt to repair the drive (not the permissions). Failing that, you should give a 3rd party utility like Disk Warrior a try.

This could be an indicator of a hard drive failure.