There are many ways to get data off of a non bootable drive. One such technique is to utilize Live CD’s that run an operating system independent of the hard drive. That way you can grab what you need from it and push it over to a network drive. But, in my mind, an even simpler way to handle it is to remove the drive and attach it to a desktop or another laptop.
You see, your best bet to gettting at your data is to isolate the data from the operating system. As long as you are trying to get at that data, while using the corrupted OS, you’re in for a real fight. The easy thing to do is get that laptop drive out of there. Fortunately, this is usually very simple. Most laptops have an access panel to the hard drive. This is usually on the side or the front. The access panel usually has an icon of three disks on top of each other. That is supposed to cue you into the fact that there are hard drive platters in there. Yeah, most ppl wouldn’t understand that. In any case, there is usually a screw holding that access panel in place. Once you remove that access panel, it’s usually just a matter or sliding the drive out. It really is that easy. And, if you ever want to upgrade your laptop hard drive, this is how you would do that. Easy.
Now, once you have that hard drive out you need a way to interface it with a desktop. Hands down the easiest way to do that is by using a SATA or IDE hard drive to USB adapter. You can find one such adapter at Tiger Direct. There are also ones that have direct 2.5 IDE to 3.5 IDE adapters. Those require you to open your desktop. The USB adapter allows you to hook any type drive up to USB. This will allow you to plug it into a laptop or notebook. From there, you should be able to identify pretty quickly if you can get anything off the drive.