Cannot copy files from hard drive

I had got problem on my desktop since it was old hard drive too but still not yet figured why it was gone for errors.Their are some reasons which i believe for that my hard drive gone errors.I searched on internet but no avail good answer for this except data recovery.
For recovering data i had tried to scan the drive and then tried to copy important files but though my hard drive was like going to dead.It showed as my pc was stucked even i cannot close folders or open etc.
My system was on windows xp Pro and i cannot run scandisk in this windows xp.however from microsoft website i get some information in order to run and recover.Their are two options one is command prompt another is just mouse clicking so i used this method.
First we need to open my computer folder and right click on the drive which we need to perform chkdisk so when you cliked choose properties.From the dialog box click tools menu and then click check box Automatically fix file system errors.Also if you ned to check errors and fixing etc check the second box too since this can help the hard drive to recover data.
I had slolwly copied some important data files from hard drive and i moved all the files which i needed and it this stage my hard drive was unable to respond and even my C drive gone dead as it says format the drive when i tried to open that drive.
I was running XP on my D drive since their was problem few months back so at that time i installed it on D drive Also i may think this would be another reason for errors but still i didnot figured yet.Atlast i formatted the hard drive and installed xp again.
From my side if you got such errors then immediately remove important files.
Never store the programs and large downloaded files since i did and got errors during that time.