|If the HD and video is OK then it's quite possible it would run a Linux Live CD. These run from the CD drive only, using RAM. It is a way to get your own files off the computer if WIndows is screwed up.|
I use Puppy Linux. You could download the image (iso) on another computer then burn a CD with the image burning feature which is present on most CD/DVD writing software.
To use the CD on the faulty computer you go to BIOS and make sure the CD drive is ahead of the HD. You then insert the CD in the drive and power up. Although Puppy doesn't use the HD, if you make it to the Linux desktop you can "access" the HD. This means that you can drag and drop your files from the HD onto a flash drive. Note that everything in Linux is single click.
If you decide to go that way I can help further but you don't have to be a Linux expert to do this (I'm certainly not).
Please come back and let us know how you got on.