Over the past week or two my hard disk showed signs of illness, I ignored those signs which resulted in severe illness of the drive. I usually keep my machine running. Moreover, I am running KDE4, so buggy behavior was quite expected on my behalf. I realised my disk was dying only when it was too late, I was getting read errors.
Long story short, I got another disk and promptly began the recovery process. I booted off an old recovery distro I had on my USB stick (Ubuntu Rescue Remix 8.04).