Developer

Build an IT toolkit fit for almost any occasion

Whether you're removing a stubborn screw from an insufferable Packard-Bell case or troubleshooting a PC that won't boot, using the right tool will make the job go much faster and produce a more professional result. Here 30+ hardware, software, and spare items that TechRepublic members, writers, and editors think should be in every IT toolkit.

During my years in IT, my time at TechRepublic, and even my personal life, I've built, disassembled, and cracked open more computers than I can remember. Whether you're removing a stubborn screw from an insufferable Packard-Bell case or troubleshooting a PC that won't boot, using the right tool will make the job go much faster and produce a more professional result. To ensure you always have a suitable tool or necessary spare part at your fingertips, here are some of the items that our members, writers, and editors think should be in every IT toolkit.

Hardware:
  • Multibit screwdriver with nut drivers
  • Needle nose pliers/cutters (straight and curved)
  • Hemostats
  • Crimping tool
  • Parts claw/retriever
  • Small flashlight
  • Small mirror on a telescoping handle
  • Anti-static wrist strap or band
  • External hard drive
  • Encrypted USB flash drive
  • Multimeter
  • Cable tester
  • Phone and AC line testers
  • Multi-plug power adapter
  • Serial to USB adapter
  • USB hub
  • Pen and paper
  • Portable labeler
Software:
  • Original disc media for various versions of the software you support (Windows, Microsoft Office, etc.)
  • Bootable environments with diagnostic and recovery tools (Windows Sysinternals, BartPE, UBCD4Win, EBCD, WinPE)
  • Latest versions of ubiquitous programs (Acrobat Reader, VPN and communication software, various Web browsers, etc.)
  • Password recovery tools (Magical Jelly Bean's Keyfinder, ViewKeyXP, etc.)
  • Computer information gathering tools (Belarc Advisor, SIW, etc.)
  • Drivers for commonly supported hardware (NICs, video cards, printers, etc.)
  • Antivirus and Spyware software
  • Remote support utilities (CrossLoop, TightVNC, etc.)
Spare parts:
  • Keyboards
  • Mice
  • Assorted case screws and motherboard jumpers
  • NICs
  • Hard drives
  • RAM
  • Power Supplies
  • Drives (3.5" floppy or CD/DVD ROM)
  • Surge protectors
  • Miscellaneous cables (including patch and crossover cables)

You can get more advice on building an IT toolkit that would make James Bond envious from the following TechRepublic resources:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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