Lee Wilbur
IT Solutions
A service of Multiverse Enterprises Inc.

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Technician's Tool Kit

If you discover any links that no longer work or have questions, comments, suggestions, or additions about this page, my site, or me, please contact me. (To put another way, SUGGESTIONS ARE MOST WELCOME!)

Please note: I try to avoid posting beta software recommendations - it may happen from time to time, but for the most part I don't do it. Also, any new or updated entries since the last update will be noted with and graphics. If there is less than 7 days between updates, then the items will remain marked as new or updated.


  1. Introduction
  2. Physical Tools
  3. Hardware Devices & Diagnostics
  4. Malware Tools
  5. Recovery Tools
  6. Security Tools
  7. Networking Tools & Utilities
  8. Management Tools
  9. Migration Tools
  10. Other Resources
  11. Spares
  12. Supplies
  13. Subscriptions
  14. Web Sites
  15. Free Software
    • For You
    • For Your Clients
  16. Notably Missing
  17. Credits
  18. Disclaimer


Every so often someone asks what a technician should have in their tool kit. Well, for the past three years or so (as of this writing), I've been an independent consultant who services a variety of home and small business systems. In that time, I've found various tools that help make me more effective and more accurate at maintaining, installing, and deploying computers and computer technology.

CAUTION. Familiarize yourself with it. Technologically, I'm VERY conservative. NEVER delete things you can avoid deleting. If you have to delete, make an image of the system. I've seen malware that incorporates itself so tightly with the system that trying to remove it causes a reboot loop. I've seen instances where you (or the client) THINKS they have everything backed up, you format, and then you and the client realize their outlook data wasn't stored in the "My Documents" folder and was, therefore, LOST. When doing any major update - INCLUDING WINDOWS UPDATES - perform a system state backup to preserve the state and allow you to restore it if necessary. Imaging could be even better.

The list below includes all the tools that I use and some additional commentary such as when to use them and comments on alternatives or why a particular tool is, in my opinion, better than any other I've come across. Some may be listed in areas that might fit into other areas - I chose the area I felt most appropriate. It's also important to note that my toolkit may deviate from yours. If you're more a cable installer and never deal with Windows, you won't have a need for many of the Windows related tools below. Likewise, if you are more an administrator type that doesn't work with hardware much, except for determining if something has failed on your server, you might not need tools such as crimpers and supplies like RJ45 connectors. But I'm a generalist and cover a wide area. So these are the tools I use (or feel I need if I don't already have) to make my life easier and to facilitate my ability to repair/install computers and networks without having to "run out" and pickup supplies or order parts and wait for them to be delivered.

One thing to note - new software appears daily - more often even - and so it's quite possible there's something new I don't know about and you do. If you see something not listed below that has made your life easier, I would appreciate you dropping me a note so I can consider including it here.

Now, when you get to the end of this, you may be wondering, "how the heck am I going to get all this stuff into my car?!?!" Good question. I'll admit, I drive a car, not a truck or a van, and it can be a tight squeeze - and I don't even have everything I'm recommending below. What I'd suggest doing is creating three to four tool/parts boxes. Put all the expensive stuff in one that you take in at night (unless, of course, you have a garage). And if you don't have a car, prioritize. Software is fairly easy to carry... hardware, not so much. Take the things you use 80% of the time. Leave the things that are "just in case".

Finally, all pricing and information (such as web sites and features, when appropriate) is believed accurate at the time of inclusion on this page. When possible, I will update such information, especially if someone informs me it is no longer accurate. So if you see something out of date, say something!


These include your screw driver, laptop computer, crimpers, etc. Some of the items below can be cheaper when purchased in kits. The small 12 piece kits are usually the cheapest and contain most of the tools you'll likely need about 80% of the time or more.

There are many different options for screwdrivers, many using changeable bits or some other mechanism to incorporate more than one driver head onto a device. The only one I've really found useful is the W6 driver by Wilton (Professional #29003). Unfortunately, I don't know any place that sells them any more. Amazon has the product listed, but unavailable. I have several (sorry, none for sale), and they have been great for me over the years. Maybe try e-bay.


Diagnosing hardware requires a bit of common sense to determine that it's not a software or especially a driver issue. But you'll also find it necessary on occasion to run diagnostics to confirm a part is, in fact, defective.


In my experience, most products (if not all) will fail to clean an infected computer. Viruses are easy... spyware, adware, root kits, and other malicious software can be a nightmare, especially if the computer has been run with administrator privileges. LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY USE A COMPUTER! Then accept that sometimes, some programs will still require administrative rights to run. But when it comes to cleaning an infected computer, it can be impossible. You have to decide "How long will I work on this before a reinstall would be the least costly option?" I'm sure I can fix almost any system with enough time... but how does spending $3000 on twenty billable hours at $150 an hour prove to be an appropriate solution when a new system can cost $500? Properly configured networks will be easiest to clean - using an image to restore the system to the point in time before the malware infected the machine. But if you're still stubborn enough to want to try to clean it, you can try all the usually suspects - Microsoft's Windows Defender, Adaware, Spybot, etc. Or you can learn what Windows services and programs are necessary and the files they use. Then go through task manager, the registry, and other process listing tools to determine what should and what should not be there. And remember what I said in the introduction - NEVER DELETE - RENAME INSTEAD!

Now, here are the tools I use when attempting to clean a system.


Recovering data can be tricky and is never a sure thing. If it's absolutely critical, you may have to send the drive to a data recovery service, such as OnTrack, listed below. When trying to recover data, NEVER recover the data to the same drive it was deleted from. Restore it to another logical drive.


Security is a VAST topic with that covers many areas. The tools below include software and utilities that help you review and monitor the network and spot potential security problems. In most cases, it is up to you to know when something is not normal and needs further review.

See also the Secunia Software Inspector under Web Sites below.


Tracking down network problems can be difficult. The following tools can help you maintain your network and resolve difficult network problems.


This can truly be the never ending category. There are hundreds, probably thousands of utilities and programs available for managing your systems. These are the ones I find myself using most frequently and that are easiest to obtain.


One of the most challenging and time consuming tasks a consultant or administrator can undertake is a migration from one network or domain to another. The following tools can help ease the pain associated with such a migration.


It can be important to track hardware and software installed on your clients systems. The informational tools below will help you to catalog what your clients have and make it easier for you to help them remotely and know what they need when they upgrade (or what you need to put back when you recover a system).


Maybe I should have listed these last, but I didn't. These are resources that are not necessarily tangible but that provide a range of potential benefits.

SPARES Contents

You can't carry a spare of everything. But some things can prove VERY useful, especially for those fairly cheap items that can go bad need to be replaced on a client's system. Many of these parts you can dig up from retired systems and parts purchased for upgrade/addition purposes. For example, retail hard drives often come with EIDE 80 conductor cables and RAM can be removed from older systems you don't need or use anymore.


The following are supplies you should always have handy. One time, I was meeting with an associate at a diner. My laptop wireless was getting a very weak and intermittent signal. So I ran out to the car, quickly made a cross-over cable, and he shared his phone's GPRS internet connection with my PC through our network ports. It wasn't fast, but it worked.


Strictly speaking, you won't need these in the field, at least not too much. But they are very useful in learning and in reference and research for issues encountered in the field.

WEB SITES Contents

The following web sites are resources you should keep handy as they can prove quite useful in tackling problems and keeping your software up-to-date.


For You
There are some programs you should be aware of that can help you manage a client's environment or your own. Below are some programs and utilities that really don't make much sense for the average home user or small business to implement on their own, but you might find they help you help the client - or just yourself.

For Your Clients
Sometimes, my home user clients need Office. Or an Anti-Virus program. Or something else. So I try put together a CD (set - or DVD) with a variety of freeware that I can give to my clients. I always keep a set with me. Considering the CDs and/or DVD media costs, I consider this a low cost way of generating good will. All the software below is FREE for non-commercial use. Some may have additional restrictions and I before passing these along to clients, make sure YOU have read the license agreement and understand what you are recommending. I also recommend trying them out yourself. And just because you don't like them or find them difficult doesn't mean you shouldn't include them (GIMP is a beast to figure out, but a less computer literate friend of mine tried on Linux and loved what you could do with it).


The following is a list of some otherwise popular tools that I simply have not found effective.

CREDITS Contents

Creating this list has been on my mind for a while now, and finally, a question on Experts-Exchange kicked me in the butt to put this together. To that end, I'd like to specifically thank the participants of that question both for asking it and for making suggestions for tools, resources, and devices that I may have had in the back of my head - OR NOT - and considered potentially useful to include here. So, thank you, r-k and ben_stanton, for jogging my memory and posting things I didn't think of including initially, and thank you, coolbluesurface, for asking the question that got this started!

In addition, I'd like to thank members of the New York Small Business Server Users Group (NYSBS) for questions and comments that lead to additional updates on this page.


The information provided here is as accurate as possible, but still may contain errors. Use of the information provided is entirely at your own risk.

You may copy the content of the page in whole or in part provided you include a link directly back to this page.

Created: May 10, 2007; Last Modified: September 9, 2009