When helping out friends in the past who have had unbootable computers either due to malware or hardware issues I have sometimes found success with one of these two options:
1. On another computer download a bootable rescue program from one of the major antivirus providers. The one I used in the past no longer comes with a bootable version so I'm going to give you a link to a page that you can look at to research your options:http://www.malwarehelp.org/anti-malware ... nload.html
I have not used any of these so I can't recommend a particular one.
2. You can get an external 2.5 " hard drive enclosure and then remove the drive from your wife's laptop, place it in the case, and connect it to another computer via USB. (You will have to know if it is an IDE or SATA interface). If the other computer has a good antivirus program as soon as the laptop drive is connected the AV will offer to scan it for you. If not, you can usually right-click and choose the scan option. Either way, scan it immediately once it's connected. After it is cleaned you can access your wife's files to back up and then replace the drive in her laptop. If all goes well it will boot. This link is a recap of what I have written (look at the "extreme cases" section).http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-a-Virus
Please post back if you have more questions or need clarification. Your problem is not an easy one to fix, to be sure, but you might have some success with these approaches.