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Technician's Tool Kit
Latest Tool Added: 2/26/2018; Latest Tool Updated: 2/14/2014
Welcome to the new and improved Technician Toolkit List! You wouldn't believe how long we've been working on this! Anyway, it's NOT READY. But we're impatient... and what YOUR suggestions for new tools! (Well, it's almost ready - we're reviewing the old tools and editing where we can before adding them to the new list). If you want to review the old list, it's available here: Old Technician Tool Kit
So what makes this improved? Each tool has been assigned one or more categories and you can now FILTER on that category. For example, if you're a Programmer, then certain tools likely won't be useful to you. Click on Programmer and you will only see the programmer tools. IN THE FUTURE, we hope to have a mailing list so you can subscribe to tool updates. TODAY, you can SUBMIT YOUR TOOL easily using our new form.
If you discover any links that no longer work or have questions, comments, suggestions, or additions about this page, this site, or us, please contact us. (To put another way, SUGGESTIONS ARE MOST WELCOME!)
Please note: we try to avoid posting beta software recommendations - it may happen from time to time, but for the most part we don't do it. Also, any new or updated entries since in the last 30 days will include and graphics to help identify them.
Every so often someone asks what a technician should have in their tool kit. After working professionally in IT since 1994 and being a full time consultant since 2004, I decided to put together this page of tools. The first version was static and due to my own time constraints, it wasn't updated too often. This is the new, redesigned page that works dynamically and encourages you, the reader, to comment and add items (of course, anything added must be reviewed by us first).
This page is a compilation of tools and resources that we have come across, read about, had colleagues recommend, or have otherwise found in my time as a professional servicing large enterprises, small businesses, and home users.
WARNING!!! The tools listed here have not necessarily been tested by us. USE THEM AT YOUR OWN RISK. Even if we have tested, a new version could be buggy and result in serious harm to your system. Always test tools on a testing system and NOT a production system before putting them in production and ALWAYS read the the usage directions as a single wrong switch placed in the wrong place could wipe out a system!
CAUTION. In the case of all software below - FAMILIARIZE yourself with it. Technologically, We're VERY conservative. NEVER delete things you can avoid deleting. If you have to delete, make an image of the system. We've seen malware that incorporates itself so tightly with the system that trying to remove it causes a reboot loop. We'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 FULL BACKUP to preserve the system and allow you to restore it if necessary. Imaging could be even better.
The list below includes all the tools that we use and some additional commentary such as when we use them and comments on alternatives or why a particular tool is, in our opinion, better than any other we've come across. Some may be listed in areas that might fit into other areas - We chose the area we felt most appropriate. It's also important to note that our 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 the SMB Consultant is usually a generalist and covers a wide area. So these are the tools we use (or feel we need if we don't already have) to make our lives easier and to facilitate our 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.
Each tool indicates a technician type we believe this tool will be useful for. This does not mean you should not use the tool if your job description doesn't fall into one of the recommended categories. Indeed, we'd like to hear from you if you use a tool otherwise not recommended for the technician type that you are. The types are as follows:
|H -||Hardware Technician: 56 Items
Your job is install / repair / replace hardware. You might be a technician that gets called in by a major vendor like Dell or HP to perform on-site parts replacement. While you should know basics of how to use an operating system, your job description is not to troubleshoot the operating system. At most, you might be asked to reload the system using the manufacturer recovery disks.
|W -||Workstation Technician: 29 Items
Your job is to troubleshoot and repair workstations and laptops for end users. Your clients may be those in an office or home users who bring computers to your location or you may travel to theirs. A little knowledge about networking and some basics about security would be advisable. You should be an expert in client operating systems such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and Mac OS.
|A -||Systems Administrator: 44 Items
|N -||Network Technician: 46 Items
|P -||Programmer: 11 Items
|S -||Security Expert: 15 Items
You focus on security - ensuring that your network and systems are protected from outside and inside attacks. As part of your job, you are testing your own security measures to ensure they are effective and not too restrictive for your users.
|C -||SMB Consultant: 43 Items
You are a jack-of-all-trades - you must master the Systems Administrator role as it relates to smaller (0-5) server environments. You must know how to troubleshoot PCs, Macs, and various hardware devices. You must understand more than the basics of network security. Some scripting would be good to automate repeatative tasks. And you must understand more advanced networking topics - BGP may not be needed, but you should understand how to configure at least one major load balanced WAN router and VPN system.
|Show All 79 Items|
TIP: Click the tool category description to filter the list to show ONLY tools for that category.
One thing to note - new software appears daily - more often even - and so it's quite possible there's something new we don't know about and you do. If you see something not listed below that has made your life easier, we would appreciate you submitting it to us so we can consider including it here.
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, we will update such information, especially if someone informs us it is no longer accurate. So if you see something out of date, say something!
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; Code Last Modified: March 28, 2016