Yes -- and No. Yes, I received responses to my question. The solution (per my limited knowledge) is to install the Linux OS and access the password=protected files via that. They recommended going to a site called knoppix and getting the free download. The problem is . . . while the site has some English contents, most of it is in German (I don't read it) and what English there is . . its so darn techical that I'm not sure I would know what to do. I checked out the FAQ (frequently asked questions), and some were of the sort: What happens if (name how your computer could screw up) results from booting from the knoppix disk?" Screw ups? Not something I want to rush into!
Unless I had a bonafide computer geek at the helm, I don't know that I want to try the offered solution . . . even if (as one suggester noted) it "works like a charm". They noted how "cool" it can be to have Linux and Windows installed on the same hard drtive -- yeah, that might be interesting, beyond the immediate desire to get to the afforementioned files. But, neither do I want a non-functional computer.
Another option might be to pull the hard drive back out and take it to the computer guy at work, who agreed to look at it and see what he could do. My own knowledge is just to limited . . . I have always subscribed to the Clint Eastwood character's motto: "A man's gotta know his limitations". Well, I do!