Recovering data files from Corrupt operating system laptop

My wife laptop will not boot up because of what I believe is a corrupt operating system. I want to get some of her data files off her laptop to put on a new laptop when I get her one. She has Windows 7 64 bit loaded on the laptop it originally had Windows Vista and I did an upgrade on it. I have spoken to Best Buy, Staple and Office Depot. Best Buy will do it for $150 and give me an external 50 G external hard drive. Staples and Office Depot will do it for $69.99 and give me a flash drive. I was thinking if they can do it I should be able to give it a try. Anyone have a possible solution to my problem.
rbrown860Asked:
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dbruntonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Hard disk out of laptop and placed into USB caddy.  Boot into another computer and attach USB caddy to computer where it should be recognised.

If Windows Explorer sees it OK you may be able to pull the files off.  No joy then try GetDataBack https://www.runtime.org/data-recovery-software.htm  Free to try.  If it sees your files then you pay for full functionality.
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rick81Connect With a Mentor Commented:
you could create a Ubuntu disc.  boot off the ubuntu disc, select to try the software and it will load ubuntu from the cd.  then you can get into the file system and copy the files you need off to an external hdd or usb.

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

download the file and burn to a dvd.

this will save you from having to remove the hdd from the computer and installing into a caddy, etc.
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Schuyler DorseyConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Before going to the data recovery method, I would purchase and download SpinRite ($69). Run SpinRite on the laptop and it will correct any hard drive issues it finds. It may fix the issue.

If that does not work, do what the other posters suggested and boot the drive from Ubuntu. Or you could mount the drive in a USB dock and hook to another pc.
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Mohammed KhawajaConnect With a Mentor Manager - Infrastructure:  Information TechnologyCommented:
Download Hiren Boot CD and see if you can see the data.  If you can then plug in a USB drive and reboot from Hiren CD.  You could then copy the data to the USB drive.
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nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
if you have a desktop around  - connect the laptop drive to a sata cable and copy your files.
if you need to take ownership (=access denied)  - give a yell for info
reason to use a desktop : data transfer = 10 x faster via sata than over USB; and USB has no error handling

***you can buy a 2TB disk drive for less than 100$

you may be able to fix your OS though : boot from a live cd - and run a startup repair
if that fails - use a sytem restore to a date it was ok

 you can always test if the disk drive is ok, by running the manufacturer's diag (WD for WD drives)

personally, i use the UBCD for this :
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD

go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page
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rbrown860Author Commented:
All the suggested comments were good info for my situation.
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nobusCommented:
rbrown - that is fine, and good to hear
what would be even better is posting what actually helped - o rwas the soltution
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