The quickest and surest solution is to burn an Ubuntu 10.10 live cd [link] and boot the computer with it (trial mode will do fine). You should be able to access your Windows partition directly and transfer your files to a flash or other external drive with no difficulty at all. You don't need to know anything about Linux to do this.
You can transfer your files if you get it to load. If you have access to another Vista machine you could try replacing clfs.sys by booting from a DOS environment. Or the other method you could use if you can burn a cd of a newer Linux like Knoppix or Ubuntu. You can use it to boot up your laptop and access your Windows files and then use a flash drive to copy them. I'll try and think of some more solutions for you.
Unfortunately, I don't have another Vista computer or laptop, and I can't figure out how to get to the DOS prompt without going through the Start menu. >_>
I could try the Linux idea, but I've never used Linux before, so I'm not sure how easy that solution might be. I also don't have any blank CD's on me at the moment, so that solution would have to wait until later.