Networking

What to carry in your sysadmin toolkit

Laptop

IT pro Jerry Smith got the ball rolling when he offered his list of the most useful items in a well-stocked sysadmin toolkit. TechRepublic members had plenty suggestions of their own. This gallery features the original list and the most popular suggestions from members. Here are Jerry's picks:

First, the 15” Macbook Pro is my undisputed weapon of choice. This isn’t a Mac vs. PC piece so whatever laptop you carry is fine. The longer the battery lasts the better and an additional power supply is definitely a must have.

 

About

Jerry Smith is an IT Pro with over 15 years experience. He currently is a Systems Engineer for a leading SaaS firm in Birmingham, AL.

30 comments
mhbowman
mhbowman

zip ties. They're fairly good for keeping things neat, but PLEASE use them sparingly. Nothing worse than coming in behind someone that has the "police issue handcuff model" to tie cables together every two inches, and they're cranked down so tight it's almost cutting into the cords. Cause, you know, once a PC is setup there's never gonna be a reason where you're going to need move it, or swap it out. Nice tips on the rubber bands, and some of the software utilities by the way.

chris
chris

I have a cybertool with a torch built in, use it a lot, in fact it is in a pouch on my belt. If you have the space, a electric screwdriver is handy. Some places can be difficult to reach with a normal screwdriver. You can use your smartphone for troubleshooting fiber as well.

wallace.austin
wallace.austin

Tums and Advil - no seriously. A linux cd in case you need to boot to another OS

lmssadler
lmssadler

It's great to have in my purse but even better for my tool kit when I have to connect a cable and I cannot see the back of the system if it's in a tight space.

bobmatch
bobmatch

A baseball bat, to adjust the customer of the human interface device as they berate you for missing their deadline (which was due a week ago but they spent too much time on facebook). While the whole problem is caused by the space heater brought from home under the desk tripping the breaker.

tyrannosaur
tyrannosaur

We all get older. Sometimes you need one, sometimes both. Add to that a flashlight!

daviddag
daviddag

1. FileAssasin is one of my favourite apps. This will kill the the running processes on a locked file with the option to delete or delete on reboot. The portable version is only 79.79 KB and easily intergrates into the portable apps suite. I ahve already used it to remove a locked file over a VNC connection. www.malwarebytes.org/products/fileassassin 2. Godmode on Win 7 (kept on my Flash) 3. Sysinternals suite 4. SATA/IDE to USB convertor

mort_gib
mort_gib

I had to replace the Swiss army knife with a Leatherman Charge. The Swiss army knife was not versatile enough and it kept going astray... The Charge comes with additional bits, so you end up not needing the tool kit thus saving weight. Also the Zalman ZM-VE200, is really cool. saves me carrying CD's and DVD's. It's not perfect, from time to time I have to burn a disk to boot from but that is about one out of 10 by now.

Animal13
Animal13

As much as I carry and love the bit sets, there is usually one screw in a recess or thru an access hole that wont fit a bit driver. I find the one long phillips comes in really handy. I also carry a set of Jewlers screwdrivers for that tiny screw that holds a CR2016/CR2025/CR2032 battery, etc. (Which I also carry for real time clocks on motherboards.) I'm surprised nobody mentioned a can of air for blowing out dust and a can of electrical contact cleaner.

bigbillh
bigbillh

I always carry a Network cable tester for cables. Comes with adapters to check a number of different cables. I use LANtest, great little tool for that kit.

pfisher2k
pfisher2k

My telescoping mirror is invaluable, even better with aforementioned MagLite.

ManoaHI
ManoaHI

I always carry a bootable USB and bootable CD and bootable DVD. I created my own tool kit. I needs two sockets in addition to screwdrivers for some of our racks. My MacBook Pro has Windows 7, Fedora Linux and Solaris loaded in VM. I am system admin for Red Hat Linux, Oracle Enterprise Linux and Solaris.

pikeman666
pikeman666

You forgot the roll of duct tape. I like your choice of backpack because it's roomy enough for a large-frame pistol. That might be your handiest item of all when dealing with difficult cleints.

donpro1
donpro1

something I started carrying years ago was a set of velcro ties. You can get the fixed length ties that have a slot in one end, or get a roll of velcro at any hardware store. These are invaluable when working behind a client's server rack and you have to push a rat's nest of cabling out of the way of what you're doing. Unlike zip ties, they're reusable. I also carried a cabling kit jic I had to make a set of cables. These kits usually have a stripper/crimper/cutter tool and a bunch of RJ11/45 connectors.

prez484
prez484

I'd look at harbor freight. If a stores not nearby they have an online store. I have had good luck with the boxer set listed on the amazon page, but it does have a plastic handle. It can be picked up in Fry's stores, but beware of the cheap itool sets it looks like a metal head but the part that actually grips the pit is plastic. Hope this helps.

dr_flokk
dr_flokk

Can you tell where exactly did you got the bit set in image? obviously the one on amazon has a plastic handle (I broke a few of those before). I know is only 10$ but i would prefer to have a better set for a longer time, instead of buying a new set every time my handle breaks. thank you

techdavis
techdavis

I always have a Hiren's Boot Disk with me - gives utilities like password reset, boot without password, tests, antivirus, and even a bootable Windows environment. Most often used tool other than my laptop and USB serial adapter, due to our policies at work.

Da Juicer
Da Juicer

An important tool I carry is a cd with a password reset app - all too often you can't log-on to the client machine to get underway. I love the elastic band - never heard that one before.

piotr9531
piotr9531

It's nice to have HP laptop when water is freezing in your room, but please dont type to long because you cann get burns on your fingers. Vale Piotr

johnwduffy
johnwduffy

Be careful with this one! I put it in my shirt pocket after use and forgot to put it back in my bag....at my first fuel stop on the way home slipped my credit card in the same pocket. At the next fuel stop I discovered how powerful the magnet really is....it erased the data on the card rendering it useless DOH!

rsdance
rsdance

Please provide the name of the company that makes the screw driver kit. Second request

yawningdogge
yawningdogge

I can't live without my copy of backtrack. That disc has saved my bacon time and time again.

jrhart
jrhart

USB to IDE & SATA Drive adapter for times with a dead power supply, mother board, or corrupt operating system. If the drive turns you can usually recover the data.

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

The most useful tool that I carry and use every day is a MagLite Mini 2 AAA cell flashlight.

donpro1
donpro1

I also carry a 4 port, USB powered hub, a retractable RJ45 cable and a - 7 port USB hub. Prefferably one that can be powered by a USB port and not use a power supply of it's own.

sboverie
sboverie

I don't have the exact kit as the author but I have a smaller set that I got from Maker Shed at a Maker faire. It has the iFixit logo from a company that gives you information on how to replace the batteries on Apple iAnything. I find the small bits useful for desktops and laptops but the handle for the bits is rather narrow and does not give enough torque for some screws. For more torque, I use a ratcheting driver with multi bits inside.

Plant Doctor
Plant Doctor

Nice to see what's under that desk before you crawl under it. And why is it that telcom closets always hide the light switches anywhere but near the door.

jCottrell
jCottrell

" And why is it that telcom closets always hide the light switches anywhere but near the door. ." perhaps we should think of this as an added security measure instead of an inconvenience.