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May 14th, 2009, 09:17
Knoppix used to be the go-to distro for this sort of thing: [ http://www.knoppix.net/ ].

Nowadays all the major ones have live CD's. If you're new to Linux, I'm going to repeat my tired old advice of "if you have to ask, go with Ubuntu." Here are instructions on your specific problem: [ http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo…dows-computer/ ].

Edit: Do *NOT* follow Gorath's usually excellent advice on this one -- if a disk is borked, never, EVER write *anything* to it. Additionally, if the disk is physically broken -- e.g. it makes grinding, clicking, or whining sounds that it wouldn't normally -- don't even power it up; in such a case, your only option is a professional disk recovery service, which costs a quite a lot.
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