As the PC is very old i do not intend to go through a painful process of trying to repair the problem (i've already seen some of the suggestions for how to fix it!), however the person i'm fixing it for obviously wants to keep all their documents/pictures etc. before they upgrade.
I do not believe that the traditional windows methods of copying the files onto DVD/CD would work, given that Windows is virtually unusable. I can, however, using the Task Manager, kill explorer.exe to free up CPU, but how do i then go about copying the files off of the PC?