Ran Autorepair ok but new loop at startup - what to do now?

Background : The original problem was on my childrens' 4 year old DELL laptop running 32 bit Vista. It had got itself stuck into a blackscreen/bluescreen loop at startup where trying F8 and safe mode etc. was just getting nowhere.
After 'recovery' : Today I completed the first Autorepair with the Vista Recovery boot CD, seemed to go OK, but on restart am now stuck in a loop where I get the first DELL screen followed a few seconds later by a restart, pause, then the DELL screen again. It kind of looks worse than before, so would be a bit worried of this is the case. An F8 restart now wont do anything. Have run Dell 'cannot boot the OS' diagnostics and that's revealed something called a SATA Long Self Test failure.
So, certainly the recovery boot CD has done something but not sure what or where to go from here. Any help would be so appreciated. Really need to recover the data. Many thanks in advance!


Knows where his towel is.
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