I want to get all of the information off, but the battery is dead. Is there a way to connect a desktop to it and use the desktop power to get files off? What other ways are there to get the files off of the dead laptop?
first off taking apart a laptop is a pain in the ass and putting them back together is a nightmare that said. You can either open it up and solder the connector back on thus saving your laptop or you can pull the drive and plug it into a desktop using an adapter. As to that adapter i used to have one but it got lost and i haven't been able to find another, so if anyoe knows where to find another let me know.
I repair around 10-12 laptops with broken PSU connectors on them each week at my shop.
Get it to a good company and they should be able to strip it and solder a new connector on there for you (assuming it has not damaged components in the area).
If not, out comes the hard disk and plop it into a caddy.
If you had a password on your profile you will need xp pro/xp home in safe mode or vista to change the security permissions to be able to access that profiles 'my documents' folder however.