The computer is definitely busted, and needs a Computer Pro to fix it as stated. kemical is giving you a very safe solution of trying to access your photo files with Ubuntu LiveCD; I use this method frequently on my Customer's computers. If that fails to work, you should really stop messing with that computer and Vista-
-with the age of Vista computers now being at 9 years old--you probably have 1 or more failed hardware components along with a seriously scrambled Windows Vista on there.
The safest thing to do if you can't get your files off with Ubuntu is to take that computer (it's a desktop PC right?) to your local computer repair shop and pay to do a data recovery. This will cost you from $25-$75
at most shops; more at the big national computer chains such as Best Buy Geek Squad. They will most likely physically remove your hard drive from your computer and place it into another bench computer that's known to work and simply retrieve all your precious photos and burn them to DVD discs or even a Flash Drive depending on how many photos you actually have and their size and total capacity. Once you have those, you can toss that old computer out the window and never use it again!
You can insert your Recovery disc or Flash Drive into another new or borrowed working computer, and have access to all or most all of your photos for a very modest fee!
I do this all the time for customers and I don't charge very much to do so.
The one thing that may be a problem for you, is that if the Technician you take your drive into tells you that your hard drive has stopped spinning and he can't read anything on it; you'll have to send it out to very expensive professional Data Recovery. This starts at $250 and goes up from there. There are only 2 companies in the U.S. that I trust to do this and they are: 1.) Best Buy-Geek Squad; their Data Recovery center is in Kentucky.
2.) Kroll OnTrack; their Data Recovery center is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can google both of these to get their contact info and locations.
I just got back a busted usb external hard drive from Geek Squad last month for my son; and he had all his photos, movies, and music for the last 11 years back and they did a 97% recovery of nearly all his stuff. However, this wound up costing me just over $550, and it was his birthday present this year. Not cheap, but I wanted to let you know this is a possibility if your drive is seriously damaged. If those photos are irreplaceable and you can't afford to do it now, you should take that drive when you get it back from your local Computer Pro and stick it in a drawer until such time as you can afford the professional Data Recovery. It might be 5 years or something, but you might be able to get a friend or family member to help pay for the cost, and the photos would still be there waiting for you. Or you could win the lottery too!
Don't want to scare you; but, I've seen lots of my Customers who are not computer savvy mess up their drives by trying random repairs and destroying just about any opportunity to get their precious photos off that computer. This way, you'll know the risks by continuing to try and repair that computer to access your photos. At least now, you can make an intelligent decision.
Hope this proves helpful.
Best of luck, <<<BIGBEARJEDI>>>