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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default Tools Every Computer Tech needs!

    I'm a systems/database admin at my job, but was thinking of doing some computer repair on the side for some extra $$$.

    As always, you gotta have the right tools for the job. So I thought it would be fun (with the help of TE forums) to compile a list of what we think are essential tools:

    -Assortment of screw drivers (different sizes/types)
    -Small clamps to pick up those screws that escape underneath the mobo
    -network cables
    -external hard drive


    I know there's a ton more hardware and software related stuff.
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  3. Member Jagged's Avatar
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    #2
    For Windows, a USB stick with all the Sysinternals tools.

    I also have the nirsoft.net tools PSTPassword, ProduKey, Mail Passview. Looking at the site I need to grab a few more programs.
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  4. Senior Member
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    #3
    Nice.

    What about spyware, or anti-virus programs?
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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    Decent thermal Paste
    Crimper
    Punchdown tool
    Cable tester
    PSU Tester
    Cable Ties for tidying up cables and internals of Case.
    Ulitmate Boot CD ( Formatting tools, P/W reset tools, Benchmarking / Burn in tools
    Linux Live CD ( The swish army knife has saved my ass on many occasions lol
    Wire Cutters
    Aida32 or SIW ( for identifying drivers)
    MPX Network Card ( plug play requires no drivers in XP)
    External Hard disk for data transfer purpose.
    MemTest - for testing ram
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  6. Son of Dad Bert McGert's Avatar
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    #5
    Make sure to have at least three large UPS's with you, as well as an HVAC unit.
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  7. Senior Member
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    #6
    Hard drive enclosure to quickly pull data from a down PC.

    USB network adapter.

    iPhone to google anything.
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  8. was here.
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    #7
    Rubber mallet
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    Sleeping bag, pillow, your alcohol of choice, etc.
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  10. TaskStream Stalker arwes's Avatar
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    #9
    I don't go anywhere without this. Ultimate Boot CD - Overview
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    Laptop with wireless internet service.
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  12. Senior Member Bokeh's Avatar
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    #11
    All of the above, plus:

    Spare CAT5 patch cables in 3-5 ft lengths
    RJ45 connectors
    Penlight
    small flip notepad
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  13. was here.
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    #12
    A decent jacket/coat to keep warm in the datacenter.
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  14. Senior Member
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    #13
    Got to add a good PSU tester and multimeter.
    Spinrite (make sure you buy the appropriate licensing)
    Can of compressed air
    Some alcohol wipes
    Spare 60mm, 80mm, 120mm case fan
    I also keep a large pen drive with commonly needed things like the aforementioned PSTools, Windows and Office service packs, odds and ends utilities like SpaceMonger, MBSA, Secunia PSI, PowerShell, handy scripts, etc.
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  15. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by arwes View Post
    I don't go anywhere without this. Ultimate Boot CD - Overview
    The Ultimate Boot CD is a great tool, as is Hiren's Boot CD. I definitely agree that using Sysinternals is going to be a lifesaver. Another trick I learned while doing PC repair was to keep either an external drive enclosure or some other type of adapter to attach hard drives to a work-machine to run antivirus and anti spyware software on. Cleaning a drive is a lot easier to do when it's not the boot-drive, and you'll feel much better pulling data from it if you've done your due diligence to clean out any infected files. Pick up a good toolkit with crimping tools, a screwdriver with replaceable heads, tweezers, etc. along with a couple of bags of RJ-45 connectors and a spool or two of Cat5e or Cat6 cable. Get yourself an external optical drive to make sure you can boot machines or install software if they either don't have one, (like some servers,) or have a CD-ROM drive and all you've got is a DVD. Get yourself some thumbdrives to carry files on and to boot from; keeping plenty of spares will ensure that you have one when you find yourself losing the damn things left and right.

    IT reference books will become your best friends, as will how-tos and tutorials online. Don't be afraid to look things up, even if the customer is right there over your shoulder. Tell that person, "I'm double-checking this issue to make sure I'm doing it right," or simply tell them that you haven't come across this exact thing before and you're going to consult a colleague to figure out how to proceed. People respond much more favorably to honesty a head of time than excuses after the fact. (How many people have you heard about that were furious over a "computer guy" screwing them out of their money when he/she didn't know what the issue was in the first place?)

    -------------------------------------------------------
    ITHumidor.com - "Futuaris nisi irrisus ridebis"
    -------------------------------------------------------

    Where I Hang Out These Days
    Let it never be said that I didn't do the very least I could do.
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  16. Senior Member
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by arwes View Post
    I don't go anywhere without this. Ultimate Boot CD - Overview
    I have used the free version of Killdisk and it was pretty nice...but being the free version you cant use many of its other utilities.

    Does anyone know a tool similar to this (free) that you can use to reset/recover the local admin pw?
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  17. Questionably Benevolent Moderator Slowhand's Avatar
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by brad- View Post
    I have used the free version of Killdisk and it was pretty nice...but being the free version you cant use many of its other utilities.

    Does anyone know a tool similar to this (free) that you can use to reset/recover the local admin pw?
    You can find plenty of 'em on both the Ultimate Boot Disc and Hiren's Boot CD.

    -------------------------------------------------------
    ITHumidor.com - "Futuaris nisi irrisus ridebis"
    -------------------------------------------------------

    Where I Hang Out These Days
    Let it never be said that I didn't do the very least I could do.
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  18. Senior Member
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Slowhand View Post
    The Ultimate Boot CD is a great tool, as is Hiren's Boot CD. I definitely agree that using Sysinternals is going to be a lifesaver. Another trick I learned while doing PC repair was to keep either an external drive enclosure or some other type of adapter to attach hard drives to a work-machine to run antivirus and anti spyware software on. Cleaning a drive is a lot easier to do when it's not the boot-drive, and you'll feel much better pulling data from it if you've done your due diligence to clean out any infected files. Pick up a good toolkit with crimping tools, a screwdriver with replaceable heads, tweezers, etc. along with a couple of bags of RJ-45 connectors and a spool or two of Cat5e or Cat6 cable. Get yourself an external optical drive to make sure you can boot machines or install software if they either don't have one, (like some servers,) or have a CD-ROM drive and all you've got is a DVD. Get yourself some thumbdrives to carry files on and to boot from; keeping plenty of spares will ensure that you have one when you find yourself losing the damn things left and right.

    IT reference books will become your best friends, as will how-tos and tutorials online. Don't be afraid to look things up, even if the customer is right there over your shoulder. Tell that person, "I'm double-checking this issue to make sure I'm doing it right," or simply tell them that you haven't come across this exact thing before and you're going to consult a colleague to figure out how to proceed. People respond much more favorably to honesty a head of time than excuses after the fact. (How many people have you heard about that were furious over a "computer guy" screwing them out of their money when he/she didn't know what the issue was in the first place?)
    This is almost exactly what I have. I just cannot use usb drives under windows. Other then that I would add Secure Erase as it is a good fairly fast hard drive wiping program and DA approved to. A live linux with cd/dvd burning software. I personally use Helix...although it looks like it went corporate and have to pay for new versions. Also if you can use a thumb stick then I would say some of the stuff from PortableApps.com - Portable software for USB drives isn't bad to have on it. Also what ever you have I would check your IA policies on them.
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  19. Senior Member Jordus's Avatar
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    #18
    I like to carry a Windows PE 2.0 customized disk with lots of command line tools and other things. It really helps having a bootable USB with what is essentially Vista Core on it.
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  20. Senior Member
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    #19
    If we're talking strictly consumer level side-job type situations, then this is usually what I bring along with (although I try to avoid this unless it's co-workers or people I know, that that's a whole other thread).

    Medium Canvas Bag - it holds things
    Basic Screwdriver w/ larger and smaller phillips and standard heads - for screwing things
    Small screwdriver set with various small bits - for screwing smaller things
    3/16" hex driver - for screwing standoffs
    Husky (home depot brand) 6 mixed pliers/cutters set - tiny pouch with an assortment of things for doing stuff with
    Gun - to shoot myself with should the need arise
    500gb 2.5" hard drive - for making backup images
    32gb USB flash drive - holds things I use
    Windows PE CD - customized with diags, scanners, etc
    My netbook and my Blackberry so I can tether if they don't have functioning Internet

    That's basically it for tools and whatnot that I bring with me, even though I rarely ever fix a PC at the customers location unless I know it's a quick fix - which few are since it's always the same "I have kids, they download stuff and spyware up my machine". I also generally keep with me a 160gb sata and ide drive, ide dvd-rw, and a 512mb ddr and a 1gb ddr2 stick. I find these are often easy upsells and often times needed for overall performance(in the case of the memory).
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  21. Google Ninja jibbajabba's Avatar
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by ally_uk View Post
    Decent thermal Paste
    One IMPORTANT thing easy to forget .. aw man how often did I try to salvage paste

    Quote Originally Posted by homerj742 View Post
    Laptop with wireless internet service.
    3G Dongle all the way


    Apart from a decent tool set don't forget what nobody has mentioned yet : A set of screws needed to mount cards, PSU, MoBo etc. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How often did a screw bounce under a sofa ey
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  22. Senior Member
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    #21
    What's a good antispyware tool?
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  23. Senior Member rsutton's Avatar
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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by homerj742 View Post
    What's a good antispyware tool?
    There are so many tools many which are specific to the infection. As a starting point I would grab MBAM, Hijackthis and Combofix.
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  24. Senior Member
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    #23
    One thing I've found more useful than I ever imagined in my kit, but most people don't carry - Silly putty

    Some of you will be nodding your heads sagely, and for some of you, a light will go on in your head
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  25. Senior Member
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    #24
    Ah, here we go - I built my toolbox using the following link as a guide:

    Sysadmin Toolbox FAQ

    As for what I put it all in, that's here - the multipurpose aluminum tool case

    Aluminum Tool Case at Tuff-Cases.Com
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  26. overpaid L2 Piers's Avatar
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    #25
    the GIANT SWISS

    70-410 411
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