The freezing method should be a last resort. Put the drive in a plastic bag first, to minimize moisture in the drive. But by the time you recover the files and turn the computer off, the drive will be done.
If you don't have an OS cd, most online computer component dealers have OEM copies you can buy if you are buying a hardware component (hard drive). It'd be about $151 shipped for 160GB drive (Retail) and Windows XP Home disc with one liscence. If you do have a OS disc the drive is about $60. (All from NEWEGG.com)
Just to get up and running, you can download Ubuntu (linux OS, free) and burn it to CD. Put the CD into the CD Rom and boot the computer, run the LIVE CD. This will give you an OS that can open up the files if the drive is accessable at all, without actually installing the OS to the drive. It may be able to read the files and allow you to burn them off onto discs. If this sounds like something you want to try, PM me and I'll send you my phone # and can help walk you through it.