The situation isn't really clear. Things to try (pick what you like and can):
1. Boot from a Linux CD and use that to transfer your most precious files (or much more) to a USB-stick or external hard disk or burn CD-R or DVD-R.
2. Mount the disk in an external enclosure and connect that to another PC. And see what you can do with it using normal tools (like Windows Explorer) or data recovery tools (like GETDATABACK or RECUVA or ZERO ASSUMPTION RECOVERY).
3. Bring the disk to a data recovery company and ask them to recover as much as they can. Be sure to have your credit card ready.
May I remark it's far better to make a backup of important data (there's no objection to backup unimportant data also) before you need it. That means: regularly and systematically.
Personally, I've got a copy of quite a lot of work on a second PC in my home network, some on a USB-stick and much more on DVD or external disk (which is stored at my work). I won't say I'll never lose anything, but it's rather sure I'll not lose much, whatever happens.
I have some really important and irreplaceable work on my PC HDD but the tower fell over on its side yesterday and now it won't start. Originally I couldn't get it to start Windows (Win 2K installed) but I done chkdsk and fixmbr then recieved a message re: missing or corrupt ntfs.sys file - I tried to copy in repair console but this failed so decided to try a parrallel install of Windows in WINNT1 folder but had to stop it before completion. I have tried to do this again and repair existing Win 2K installs but getting nowhere I get "setup has determined that drive c: is corrupted and cannot be repaired" message - pls help I really need the stuff on the HDD - any suggestions?
Microsoft forums did suggest an issue with disk overlay but I don;t know how to check this also the forum suggests that I should be able to back up crtitical data from this drive but how?