+add as contact
Depends what caused it to pack up. If it's a non disk related hardware fault then remove the hard drive. If you can still get into the system then put your "stash" of gay porn etc in a safe place and password protect it. If it's just bookmarks and things then export them onto another device, say a memory stick, delete your bookmarks, and then reimport them when you get it back.
It would be a violation of trust for someone to go browsing round your drive without explicit permission, although I am not sure whether they are compelled to by the Police on the quiet to track down pedophiles, drug dealers, and terrorists. While massively illegal people have been caught through this.
Recovering images and the like is very easily done, all most systems do is mark the first character of a file as deleted, you need a secure deletion programme, Eraser is quite good, but they are not foolproof. I worked for an internet security company, when they had important data to delete they used a metalgrinder and physically destroyed the disk and disposed the bits in a number of different locations.
What is the nature of the problem you have?