How can I access data on a computer without knowing the login password?

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http://askubuntu.com – There are a number of files (photos, stories, poetry... etc.) on a computer that I need to retrieve. Is there any way to get around the login procedure or to get to my files without the password? Any help would be appreciated and please break down any complicated directions as I haven't used a linux system for a few years. (HowTos)