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In the FAQ Andreas Dilger states:

  In order to ensure that ext3 can safely resume an unlink after a crash, it actually zeros out the
  block pointers in the inode, whereas ext2 just marks these blocks as unused in the block bitmaps
  and marks the inode as "deleted" and leaves the block pointers alone.
  Your only hope is to "grep" for parts of your files that have been deleted and hope for the best.

However, several tools exist that try to recover/undelete lost inodes anyway - with varying success:

Name Last updated
giis 2011-03-05
extundelete 2010-06-17
Ext3Grep 2010-04-19
ext3rminator 2007-01-12
recover 2006-09-20
undel-ext3.sh 2004-05-27
e2salvage 2003-10-08

There are also free (as in beer) recovery tools for the Microsoft Windows operating system that are able to recover data off ext2/3 partitions:

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