You get home from a well-earned break, quickly copy your holiday snaps on to your computer and then delete them from the card.

Only at this point do you discover that not all of the files have made it over to your desktop. We've all done such a thing and in most cases this means that, unfortunately, you'll have lost those precious pictures for good.

JoeSoft's Klix software claims to solve that nightmare scenario by searching for and then reconstructing all pictures on your camera or media card. Klix resurrects pictures when they've been deleted, lost or if the media card has been reinitialised.

In our tests, on the Vista-compatible version, the program worked a treat and we were able to recover over 100 deleted photos with no loss of image quality. Cataloguing and recovering the images took around four minutes and resulted in 218MB of revived files, of which all could be opened and appeared undamaged.

Easy recovery

Klix makes it simple to identify images on the card and recover them to any folder, be it on your desktop or another storage device.

It sounds a bit like magic, but file recovery of this type isn't all that complicated. When you delete a file, all you do is remove its entry from the card's table of contents that tells your camera or PC where to find them. Printers and online services have sprung up and charge a small fortune to cover such data, but a minimal one-off payment of £20 will save you the expense of having to use any of those services even once.

The ease of use here is a big plus and it doesn't take an age to analyse your cards. However, your options are limited. Recovering the photos to a device or printing them as thumbnails are about the only things you can do with Klix.

We would have liked to have seen some basic editing thrown in, just in case your images are slightly corrupted and need a bit of urgent treatment, however the key elements of recovery are there, from being able to blow the images up to full size to look for blemishes, to viewing its full properties.

Klix can recover all types of image files and from pretty much any card manufacturer, so there are no issues about whether or not Klix will work with your setup. The only caveat we found is that Klix is unable to recover pictures after a format operation in Olympus or Fuji cameras using XD media.

Better safe than sorry

Klix can save a lot of heartache and is almost worth having in reserve in case the unthinkable should happen to your digital cards. It can recover movies too and, again, this was a successful transition from our 256MB test SD card.

While Klix is primarily about recovery, it's conversely also a good tool for cleaning up your cards to ensure they can't be recovered. The option to secure-delete pictures you no longer want so that they become permanently unrecoverable is a handy facility, in case you sell the camera/card or need to scrub a picture that you shouldn't have taken!

Overall, we found Klix to be relatively basic but very reliable in picture recovery. You might not use it a lot, but it's a tool that's worth having on your PC for peace of mind.