I couldn't launch Windows XP, so I tried to do a repair. Decided it wasn't what I needed to do, so exited out. Now my Rescue and Recovery back-ups are all gone so I can't even do a system restore, and it looks like my hard drive is wiped clean. Is there anything I can do to retrieve all my files and pictures? Would active partition recovery or get data back work?
GetDataBack will work to recover your files. You will need a working machine loaded with WinXP to connect the buggered drive to and another drive to copy your recovered files to; you can not copy the recovered files to the same drive you are trying to recover them from. Also, GetDataBack will not work if there is something physically wrong with the disk, i.e.; fried control board, cooked platters, etc...
One nice thing about GetDataBack is that it is free to try so you can determine if it can recover the files you want, but in order to enable the recovery functionality you must buy a key.
I've used RAIDReconstructor, DiskExplorer, and GetDataBack with great success and they are easy to use.