1 the system folder is corrupt 2 The hard drive is bad
Too find out which one it is get the boot disk that came with it and restart holding the C key. If it boots and there is no hard drive image on the desktop it is bad if there is one then reinstall the system and you should be good.
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OK it's a G4 iMac.
Burning smells coming from macs often indicate a failure in the power supply module. That said, the G4 iMac (in my experience) has been the most reliable iMac ever and power module failures are very rare.
Your best option is to find a Mac repair centre near you and take in in for a quote. But be warned - it will cost. For some reason known only to Apple power supply modules are expensive (but not as expensive as the equivalent volume of HP ink) and replacing them is not as easy as on many of the other computers.
If it is the power supply, you will not be able to switch it on again. Your data on the HD should be safe (unless the smell was coming from that - - I've had it happen!). So when you get to the workshop and you've had your quote, if you decide not to go ahead with the repair, ask the workshop to remove your HD and put it into an external case so that you can plug it in to another Mac and continue using it.
Let us know what the outcome is.
when booting immediately after the first chime before the grey screen hold down keys (apple,option,p,r) allow the computer to restart if it still goes to that blank screen restart again and this time hold down only the (option) key or maybe (option,s) on that model try option key first then select the main start up disk from the menu and click the arrow underneath
Well, yes, if you have an AGP PowerMac G4 then any AGP video card will FIT into that AGP port.... The question is to know if that card is Mac Compatible ?
Where did you get the card ? Did you get it our of another mac ?
or from someone who got it out of a Mac, then yes, it should be compatible with any Mac with a AGP port.