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file recovery - urgent


Please excuse this is not strictly debian or laptop related,
but i'm in urgent trouble.
I accidently deleted a folder with 3500 files on my laptop,
just when i wanted to do a really overdue backup. 
It's about 5 GB, nearly 3 months of work, and the last
backup is a month ago where most of the stuff was added
just recently, including hundreds of hours of the working time.

When i realized what happened i shutdown the laptop. 
The files are in the user's home on the root filesystem, 
a journaling ext3. debian sid.
I was so shocked i didn't look for the exact time, but i 
think i could boil it down to a 10 minute time frame.
I've no experience with file recovery.
I would be able to boot into a cd or dvd which i could
download and burn on another machine.
I'm aware a time based recovery could mean i'd have to reinstall 
the KDE session and do more cleanup afterward, but that's 
absolutely unimportant, if i only could recover the files. 
It would be worth a complete reinstall.

Any good idea what i can do ?


ps. And no, nothing in the trash folder, it was a real delete.
pps. And yes, i will never again be lazy with backups. 

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