To recover files
1 place Laptop hard drive into an external caddy such as click here and connect to another PC
2 Connect laptop hard drive to a PC IDE drive click here
Sata drive just use a sata cable aand power cable direct to a spare SATA port on the motherboard.
Either way if you cannot gain access to the file you may need to take ownership of the file(windows password set on the laptop) post back if neded.
Try and repair the laptop by booting from the VISTA disk and doing
1 a Startup repair if no good then
2. a system restore to a date before the problem occured