It's almost certainly not a firewall.
A couple possibilities.
If the laptop is as hosed as you say, the files may have been "flagged" as "in use" when the laptop gave up the ghost.
In that case, you cand boot on a floppy if neither drive is NTFS and do the copy in DOS, which knows little about file locking.
The glitch here is that DOS will truncate long file names [LFN}. If you choose this route, before doing the copy and with w2k running, go to a cmd prompt and:
[let's call the laptop drive U:]
dir/s/b u:\ >> laptop.txt
which will give you a record of the filenames to jog your memory later.
I have USB drivers if you need them.
If either drive is NTFS, you need a different approach.
With w2k running, go to a cmd prompt and:
xcopy u:\myfiles c:\saved\ /s
If at first you don't succeed, you're about average.