I just fixed a laptop that wouldn't even load windows. If you know what you are doing a Linux LiveCD can be a saving grace. I was able to back up all the data to an external hard drive and reformat and reinstall Windows. With the Kubuntu LiveCD this took little effort.
There are some limitations to using a LiveCD. But if your computer has a CD-ROM drive, you are in buisiness!
Here is a link to the Kubuntu LiveCD download site. Just choose a mirror and watch your bar crawl.
If you have any questions on using Unix or Linux, send me an email.