bootmgr missing vista..even nuclear runs right but does not fix issue


I am not real savvy but can follow instructions. Nothing working. I might go total reloadif nobody has any other suggestions but how do I save my photos,important emails, and files first?? I can put them on a thumb drive if I knew how to get at them. Can anybody help(please make it simple for me)?:??
Can I put Ubuntu on the thumb as my cds have not read for a few years on that pc? (Which I always thought was software related since I loaded Itunes.)