Read http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7588_102-0.html?threadID=354911&tag=forums06;forum-threads and "Skipping Windows" or the Lacie Miracle post.
I can't find all the details in your post why it didn't just work but http://forums.cnet.com/5208-7588_102-0.html?threadID=354911&tag=forums06;forum-threads covers other ways to get to your files and how you could boot that CD and copy them by "Skipping Windows."
The cool part is it's all free and you don't have to learn anything new.
I have to send in my laptop(hp 6910)to hp for repair, I think i have a bad graphics chip. Anyway I have to back up my harddrive before sending it in. Since I have no monitor i removed the harddrive and put it in a usb enclosure. What's the best way to get the info off this harddrive and back it up. I have another external harddrive i can put files on. I am currently using my son's laptop to get to the internet but he is leaving tonight. For some reason when i connected the laptop harddrive to his laptop it won't see the files on it. not sure what to do. Any help is appreciated.