Thanks. I found that VISTA had created a backup file on the c drive of the whole system before it reinstalled.
Once i took ownership of the main directory i was able to cut and paste all of the files i needed which was great.
Only problem that i have now is that the remaining subfolders in the backup folder (windows, program files) which account to about 30gb.The system will not allow me to delete them. as i only have 2 gb left on the C: has anyone got any ideas how to gain permission.