Tech Tip: The IT Tool kit

Many users look to their IT Guy to solve their computer problems, and some think that we’re miracle workers of some sort. But the truth is just like a professional tradesmen they have a certain set of tools that they use to get the job done. The tools we use are simple and can help fix the majority of the issues that many people face.

Here are some of the popular tools I use in my line of work:

A set of screw drivers for electronics: I use these tools mainly on laptop computers that need servicing such as replacing a keyboards, LCD screens, or adding more memory or a new hard drive. The difference between these screw drivers and the ones found in your garage is that these are much smaller. They are made to fit the tiny screws that holds your computer together.

Can of compressed air: A blast of compressed air can really clean the inside of a computer. The amount of dust collected inside a computer is ridiculous. The cleaner the inside of your computer the easier the computer can breath (increased air flow), and it can increase the longevity of its components such as CPU or case fans. Avoid using vacuums. They can build up static electricity and it can shock you or a computer component.

Hard drive adapters: These are a life saver. They come in different varieties, but they essentially do the same thing. They take a standard hard drive and make it capable of being connected via a USB port. I use these when I’m upgrading to a new hard drive or when I’m recovering files from a non-bootable system.

USB Flash drive: This also falls in the category of must-haves. I have 32GB USB Flash drive that I use to store application, patches, updates, and documents. Not only do I use it to carry software it’s also useful for transferring data from a networked computer to a non-networked one, so keep a few GBs of free space can come in handy.

Working spare parts: I just want to emphasize the ‘working’ part. There have been a few times where I carried bad spare parts and didn’t know about it until I tried to use it. Carrying spare parts is great for troubleshooting. It can eliminate many of the variables that can cause an issue. A good example would be when I was working on a user’s computer that couldn’t boot. It kept restarting over and over. I went through all my usual steps to troubleshoot but couldn’t figure out what was causing it. The hard drive was working fine, CPU worked, power supply and motherboard were all functioning. But the only thing I didn’t check was the RAM. Luckily for me I had a spare RAM stick in my car that I was able to test, and sure enough that was the cause. A bad memory module. So keep in mind that when you get rid of your old computer don’t forget that the working parts of it can come in handy one day.

These are some of the things that an average user would probably have, and I’m sure there are a ton of stuff other IT guys have in their arsenal that they use. But there’s one thing that can’t be replaced or given as a tool is years of IT experience. Having these tools is a great start, but having the knowledge to know when and how to use them is key to solving your computer issues. You can ask any IT tech guy and they will tell you that they learn something new everyday in their job and that’s what makes it exciting. If you every run into any problems best thing to do is ask someone who knows something about computers and if that doesn’t work Google is your friend.