G5 iMac infinite startup loop - Help, please

Dec 5, 2010
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My iMac starts up with the right chimes, etc. Gets to blue screen, and all menu items across the top show up, and the dock appears. BUT, none of the desktop items appear, no jpgs, folders, etc. including the hard drive. My screensaver - set to go through pictures - then begins. A picture displays on the blue screen, then the dock, top menu and picture disappear, and the startup cycle starts all over again.

I have tried safe boot (worked once yesterday), PRAM many times today(worked once yesterday and I thought I was set) , disk repair from the OSX disk - no indication that the hard drive has any problems, so I didn't click repair.

I am hesitant to startup from the CD is in, only b/c it says it's installing 10.4.4 all over again -

Any help? I'm in looping hell, and of course have important stuff on there I need to access!

I'm not a mac technical person, per se, but I can find my way around given proper instruction.

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