The first thing is to recover the files/data.
You can either slave the hard drive to another computer, or you can use a bootable OS disk that's capable of writing to external media (and you'll need the external media also - a flash drive or USB hard drive depending on the amount of data.
Presuming that this is XP, most of the data will be in the Documents and Settings folder, BUT, there are some programs that save the data elsewhere (in XP), so you may have to do some hunting around to find this. You can look at the Start Menu to determine the programs that you have - then you can research each one for where it keeps it's data files.
If you're able to boot into Safe Mode without any problems, then you may be able to save the data from there.
Let us know what you'd like to do and we'll be able to walk you through the necessary steps.
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