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10 Tools a computer tech should always have.

As a tech, i visit clients all over the city with all sorts of problems. There are a number of tools i cannot part with. Some are free, or are trials, while some are commercial software. Here they are!

1. Powerquest Partition Magic.

It allows you to resize the partitions on your hard drive without having to reinstall windows. Ever had a C: Partition that was running out of space, but had a D: Partition that had tons of free space?

Powerquest was bought by Symantec, which no longer supports this software. You will have to do some googling to find a copy of it. But i highly recommend it, as you will definably need it one day.

Commercial Software

2. MailPV

This tool will grab the email settings and passwords on a computer. It supports Outlook Express, Outlook 2000/2002/2003/2007, Windows Mail, Live Mail, Incredimail, Eudora, Mozilla Thunderbird. It can also get the settings from gTalk, MSN/Live messenger, Yahoo Messenger.

Nb. Office 2000 it only supports POP3/Smtp

Free Software  MailPV Homepage

3. Putty

This is a Telnet/SSH Client. Portable and small this is the best free SSH client available for windows. Highly configurable and simple to use.

Free Software    Putty Homepage

4. SIW – System Information For Windows

This software gathers detailed info on the specs and software running on the computer. Great for finding out what an unknown device is, or what software is running in the background.

Commercial Software  Homepage

5. Instant Messaging/Support Software

You should always be connected via some sort of IM platform to your clients. You may not need to charge for this service, but generally clients will appreciate having a technician available to chat to if they have problems.

The normal IM’s like GTalk, MSN, and Skype are great for this purpose. If you are feeling brave, you can venture into setting up your own eSupport System using liveZilla. All you need is a webserver that has php and mysql. The administrative backend is a windows application, but the client frontend is web based so your clients need not worry about having to install software.

Livezilla homepage

6. NOD32

You cannot be without a decent Antivirus, and nod32 is by far the best.

Commercial Software  Homepage

7. Crimping Tools, cables & accessories

You never know when you might need to repair/replace a network point. Always keep an ample supply of connectors, boots and cable at hand.

8. Electrical Testmeter

You will find situations where computers start malfunctioning, UPS’s dont work properly, etc.. Check the electricity supply and make sure the correct voltage is getting to the computer.

9. Backtrack USB Installation

Backtrack is a live cd/usb distro specifically designed for network penetration and auditing. Find rogue dhcp servers, test the security of your clients networks. Current version is 4.0, but i failed to get the dvd to work. I have a copy of 3.0 on a flash drive with me always.

10. USB External Hard Drive

Carry a USB drive with all your software organised neatly by catagory.. Operating Systems, Patches, Word Processing etc..

Much Better than carrying two dozen disks around with you. 🙂

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