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chscag

 
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Member Since: Jan 23, 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 39,429
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Mac Specs: 27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, 3 iPods, OS X Mavericks

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With an iMac that is four years old, the problem could well be a bad hard drive. Which it does sound like....

Backups, have you been making them? If you have no backup, you may well lose your project if the files on that drive can not be rescued. Reinstalling the operating system, even if it does work, may result in overwriting the data that's already on the drive.

I would try using Disk Warrior to see if it can rescue your files from the drive. Here is the LINK to the download. It's $99, so you might want to try the trial version first.
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