|I agree with aegis 1. You may need to hit any key when prompted, to boot from a CD. Failure to hit a key will result in bypassing the optical drive.|
If you need to recover personal data prior to a fresh install (format) you can use a live version of Linux, like Knoppix. Knoppix installs to, and runs from, one CDR/DVDR.
Recovery programs may also be used. The list below was originally posted by aegis 1, I think.
PC Inspector (freeware)
Zero assumption Recovery
The demo is limited
It will only recover 'up to' four folders per run
But you can make multiple runs
IMO the best, but not free