The problem as I see it is that you are trying to recover an ntfs partition
with a dos boot disk. Dos by default doesn't know anything about NTFS.
Try booting with the XP install disk and recovering that way:
Turn on the computer with the Windows XP disc in the cdrom drive. When
prompted to start from the CD, press any key.
The option for the Automated System Recovery will appear momentarily.
Setup will load some files necessary for installation, and then will start
Windows. Press the R key to run the Recovery Console for Windows XP.
The screen will drop you to a C:\WINDOWS prompt. Allowing you to see
the contents of your NTFS partition. You should be able to run whatever
recovery tools you want at this point. Like checking the boot.ini file, etc...
As an alternative, you could create a Knoppix boot CD, and use it to
check/verify/backup/repair the contents of your C drive.