When I found a laptop that could not boot from CD I tried my Linux DSL (damn small linux) USB memory key (google.com for info) and was able to boot up and network to a server to copy out files.
http://www.petri.co.il/forgot_administrator_password.htm covers the free methods and the pay method is at http://www.lostpassword.com
If the machine has hardware failures you either fix the machine or pull the hard disk out to put into a desktop using a 2.5 to 3.5 inch hard disk adapter.
Solutions are plentiful.
i cannot log on to windows 2000 due to password failure so am looking to boot to cd to try password recovery program (which may or may not work) or go directly to c: prompt to copy directories to an external media
i have not been able to do either despite all sorts of attempts
any suggestions would be welcome