Vista Will Not Boot, Please Help!

My primary laptop running vista crashed and states corrupted file. I do not have a backup CD with my pictures and word docs. I called Dell, who suggested to do a system recovery but in doing so I would lose all my files. They said they had someone who could pull the files for $$$. I am a novice user so I figured I could try to find a way to do this via internet. Microsoft said to restart, f8, and go into safe mode...this option does not come up, only "start windows normally (just sends me to an error message)" and "fix startup error (same error message)". So next it says if you can't boot in safe mode, power down, insert OS disk and press key when prompted, and use windows recovery environment to get to system restore... I put the disk in, turn the computer on and it will not boot from the disk, just sends me to the earlier referenced screen ("start windows normally"). Is there a way to get to system restore so I can just resore to my last system restore point or am I going to have to wipe everything back to factory settings? Sorry for the long read... Please help!!
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More about vista boot help
  1. You boot sector may be corrupted. Instructions to repair the boot sector.

    In BIOS, You will need to set the first boot device to DVD.

    1. Start the system and Hold down the DEL key (may be F1, F2) to get to system BIOs.

    2. In BIOS, set the first boot device to DVD, place Vista DVD in tray.

    3. Save and Exit.

    4. When prompted, press any key to boot to DVD do so.

    How to repair boot sector in Vista.
  2. You're not hitting F8 at the correct time... trust me, if you were, you would get the "Safe Mode" option. As soon as POST completes and before it begins booting from the hard drive, immediately start tapping F8. Basically, you're getting the menu you get when Windows is shut down improperly whether on purpose or due to a blue screen or other error.

    Still, the best thing to do would probably be to remove the hard drive, connect it to another computer and back up all the files that way. This way everything is backed up and then you can proceed with a system recovery.
  3. Thanks Zoron for the help. So after reading your post I was able to get to safe mode, although safe mode would not boot either. I was able to boot from the Vista DVD to get to Startup Repair under the System Recovery Options. Only problem is that Startup Repair says cannot fix problem. The diagnostics for the Startup Repair follow (6th try):
    Root cause found:
    unknown Bugcheck: Bugcheck 9f. Parameters = 0x3, 0x84b43028, 0x8557a520, 0x842c92f0
    Repair Action:
    System files integrity check and repair.
    Result: Failed. Error code = 0x45d

    Also 1st try of Startup Repair:
    Root cause found:
    Boot critical file C:\windows\system32\ntkrnlpa.exe is corrupt

    Repair Action: File Repair
    Result: Failed. Error code = 0x45d
    Repair Action: System files and integrity check and repair
    Result: Failed. Error code = 0x45d

    After this, I just tried to do system resore from the system recovery options dialog box, but it just states that there are no restore points (I don't know why b/c vista creates a new restore point after installing new drivers and updates?!?!). I don't want to have to do a clean install but it looks like that's my only option. I don't have the expertise to dismantle the notebook and remove the hard drive or have a computer to connect it too even if I did, so looks like I may have to take it somewhere for data recovery to save my files. If anyone knows how to recover the files without removing the HD please share. Thanks again!
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