I am not the primary user - that would be my wife. With respect to your question, No software was uploaded/downloaded to the computer between the last time it worked and this current issue. My wife does occasionally download some game software that she plays occasionally when she cannot sleep. BUT, with respect to this case, nothing was downloaded between the last time it worked and this current issue. I am sorry I cannot be more specific.
This did eject the disk. Thank you.
Unfortunately, this did not boot the machine. At boot-up, the apple logo was displayed then after about 30 seconds, the "not-sign" again appeared.
Your information has indeed solved the issue. I restarted the machine normally and achieved reaching the desktop. I opened several applications as well as firefox and tried several url's - all seemed to be working fine.
Thank you so much for your assistance. I have copied the instructions above for opening in safe mode and the alternate options to assure I have these for quick reference in the future should I ever need them again.
I know my wife will be very happy at the quick resolution as she needs to finalize the church newsletter this week for publication. She will be very pleased that she does not have to recreate it from scratch.
Thank you again for your support in this matter.