Unstoppable copier is free and could be a option to read data. Also there are eval programs made by Get Data Back that allow you to see the data that is potentially recoverable on the drive. Try both, see what you get. Also most of my experience with recovering data suggest that doing this in an external enclosure works best, don't really know why for sure, some one here should shed light on that.
Get "Spinrite", if your machine will post you should be able to boot using Spinrite and recover the hard drive: I've used it a few times and have recommended it to colleagues: we all think it's magic.
Google for Spinrite.
First thing you need to do is find out if the hard drive had bad sectors or other defects.
Doing a full test with the hard drive manufacturers utility will give you your answers.
If the drive has bad sectors you will likely be given the oportunity to have the diagnostic utility attempt various methods to retrieve the data on the bad sectors and remap those sectors to other parts of the hard drive.
This is exactly what Spinrite does, only the hard drive manufacturer provides their utility free of charge. I haven't found any tests done to determine which is more effecitve. My guess is that they probably work about the same, with Spinrite having more features and options.
If Windows XP can recognize the file system you can manually copy the files or use a program such as unstoppable copier.
Manual copying will halt when an uncorrectable error is detected.
Unstoppable copier will simply copy the file and fill in the damaged sections.
Alternatively it can be set to skip files with read errors.
However when I tried using it that way, it was unreliable and failed to skip some files that had read errors.
If Windows XP cannot recognize the files system. You can try Get Data Back which will can scan for and recover individual files and folders. However the evaluation version is limitted to the point of being useless. It will show you what it found and let you recover a tiny bit of data, but then you need to buy the full version. Otherwise everyone would just use the demo!
You will also be unable to tell which files are intact and which are corrupted.
That really sucks with movies.
If you happen to have obtained some of those files from emule or another program that uses hashes you can verify which files are corrupt.
Just delete or move the known.met files to remove its memory of downloaded files. Share all the files and wait until they are all hashed. Unshare the files. Reconnect to the network.
If you search for a file and you see results in green then it means one of the files emule thinks it already downloaded the file, which means someone is sharing a file identical to yours. So you know that file isn't corrupted.
If your system will not boot with the hard drive attached, or having the hard drive attached internally causes the system to lockup, then you should try connecting it via USB.