FANTASTIC ! PROBLEM SOLVED !
all three files found, and copied from the $recycle.bin to a 'safe' directory. then loaded them into my access-based database application catraxx. all three worked smoothly! no info gone.
thanks for your great help. the start was a bit rough, but nice that you kept helping. with 100% succes! thanks again!
yet, still curious about the theoretical background (if i can understand it): how can an advanced data recovery program SEE the .mdb file but is not able to recover it, while a simple dos-command can simply make a copy?