Computer Tech Software for Job

Darian929Darian929 Member Posts: 197
Hello techies,

I've been of these forums for a while because I've been trying to land a job. Recently I got hired at the local computer store.. as computer technician for part time. Any type of advice you guy's can give me would be greatly appreciated or reminder .... in case a customer asks. There are so many things at the store i didn't even know existed jaja. Sometimes I got asked by customers for a cable that I didn't know was used but oh well I guess you're supposed to learn something new everyday. So im talking to the manager and he told me that we are basically independent contractors.... we can use whatever software we'd like to anti-virus removal and stuff like that. So my question to you guys is what software do you guys recommend I use to anti-virus , anti-spyware... data backup... all sorts that would be necessary to troubleshoot a computer.. diagnostics software... stuff like that. I also heard of something that would enable me to run programs off of my usb drive without having to install them on the pc's which is a big thing because I need to run the software without having to install it on the pc. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance guys!


  • Daniel333Daniel333 Member Posts: 2,077 ■■■■■■□□□□
    There are no lack of tools you should be getting licensed for yourself to really run as a tech.

    Although licensing prevents you from using it, I highly recommend you take a look at Geek Squad's MRI disk. Master every tool on there and you are well on your way. Then go ahead and make your own version using the stuff you can afford and BartPE.

    I might also recommend to you skip the Net+ and go straight for CCENT or MCDST. Both have more real world application and cover complicated concepts with the detail you are going to need to succeed.
  • qwertyiopqwertyiop Member Posts: 725 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I recommend that you go for the MCDST since your working in computer store, your probably going to see more Microsoft related issues then anything else.
  • Agent6376Agent6376 Member Posts: 201
    Daniel333 wrote: »
    Although licensing prevents you from using it, I highly recommend you take a look at Geek Squad's MRI disk.

    I'd really reconsider doing this. Yes the disc has great tools on it, but you can find the same tools using free downloads from sysinternals and you won't have to worry about Best Buys legal team contacting you.

    Autoruns, for example, is just like our process analyzer and you can view every startup item, service, dll, and driver (among other things). On top of that, you can view the path of where the different files exist on the drive, making it a lot easier to pinpoint malware by closely monitoring the creation date of known bad files.

    If you're looking to remove malware efficiently, you're going to need either BartPE or another machine where you can slave the hard drive of the infected computer to. Run your scans from outside of the OS so that the malware can't affect your removal process.

    Good luck!

    Edit: Some pointers:
    Programs that work great for malware removal are Kaspersky, Norton 2009, and Spyware Doctor-but training your clients on good internet browsing habits is what will keep them clean the majority of the time. Think of antivirus as their safety net if they goof up.

    If you see an infection pop up that says Virut, know ahead of time that you'll have your work cut out for you. It basically infects any .exe that you launch and will rebuild the infection over time if you miss anything. What makes it a pain is that some scanners won't "disinfect" the infected files and will instead just remove them (A Squared is an example of this) so you're left with a Windows OS without some core files like: winlogon.exe, services.exe, explorer.exe, logonui.exe.

    Your clients will appreciate you more if you can communicate with them, and do it in a way without talking down to them. Some people were born to be doctors and we dont know squat about their terminology, and vice versa.

    Be humble. If you're new to IT and you don't know the answer, then find someone who does or Google it. People look to us for the right answers, so usually when you give one they don't second-guess you.

    Double check your work. You've just knocked out a strand of virus that is kicking computer @ss around the world and you're the champ?! Make sure before the computer leaves shop that you can stand by your work.

    Don't be narrow minded. Focus on your task at hand, but don't neglect all other aspects of working in a PC shop. Managing clients, picking up after yourself, taking down notes, and helping your peers all need to be on your to-do list.

    Those are the tips I can give right now, and I hope that you can use one or some of them to help you get started.
  • Darian929Darian929 Member Posts: 197
    Thanks Agent, all your advice really helps. Never heard about sysinternals and I am currently right now trying them out with the cmd prompt and it seems really unique tool. Never seen anyone use them either. My question to you is...let's say a customer comes in and wants just an antivirus / spyware clean up. For me to run one of the antivirus I have ... would i have to install it on their computer , run it, and then uninstall it..... or can I install my antivirus on my flash drive... and run it from there directly. Dont know if you get my point... Thanks a lot though!
  • BokehBokeh Member Posts: 1,636 ■■■■■■■□□□
    There are several AV products you could run from your thumb drive. When I was doing a lot of bench work in the retail environment, once we confirmed spyware/virus we would contact the customer and sell them an AV product. So if your business is fond of McAfee, Norton, Trend Micro, Nod, Hauri, Vipre ( my personal favorite), etc it is a good chance for a sale. It also gives the customer a little piece of mind knowing they now have something that SHOULD help prevent further flare ups. Do not forget to EDUCATE them on the importance of regular updates to both their Anti Spyware/Anti Virus programs.

    Too many people would come in saying they have XXXX installed but it didn't stop the infection. Then come to find out, yep they do have something installed but it is way past the expiration date and they never renewed/upgraded to the current prevention.

    Even if they do not wish to buy any AV product, I would at least installed AVG as a minimum as well as Spybot and Malewarebytes.
  • Agent6376Agent6376 Member Posts: 201
    Darian929 wrote: »
    Thanks Agent, all your advice really helps. Never heard about sysinternals and I am currently right now trying them out with the cmd prompt and it seems really unique tool. Never seen anyone use them either. My question to you is...let's say a customer comes in and wants just an antivirus / spyware clean up. For me to run one of the antivirus I have ... would i have to install it on their computer , run it, and then uninstall it..... or can I install my antivirus on my flash drive... and run it from there directly. Dont know if you get my point... Thanks a lot though!

    It comes down to licensing really. If the client is not purchasing any antivirus, then yes, run your antivirus then remove it afterwards from the client's PC. Most of the time when you explain the importance of having an antivirus program on the machine, client's will opt to get one-but in the case where they still decline make sure you explain to them that subsequential virus infections will probably not be covered under any warranty that your company places on your services.

    Also, you cant "install" any programs on your flash drive. You can copy the executable to your flash drive and install the program on each PC you use it on, but beware! There are quite a few variants of malware that will infect your flash drive if you're not careful. I've heard of cases where infected flash drives have infected multiple machines in stores that previously clean. Your safest bet is to burn your applications to cd/dvd and run them from there.

    Just a side note as well: never, ever, (ever) assume that all the hardware in a particular machine is fine without diagnostics. I know that turn time is important in every business, but I can't tell you how many times I've done a complete removal of malware on a machine or fought with Windows for hours-only to find that the machine had either blown caps or a failing HDD.
    Working in a store makes it a no brainer for you to run diags, but sometimes working in the field you're up against the clock.

    Steps that should be taken (obviously your company may differ, but these are generally how things are done in Best Buy stores).

    1. Find out what's wrong with the machine. Specifics are necessary here, yes the machine has a virus-but why are they bringing it in? Is it slow? Does it connect to the internet? Are they having problems accessing a particular site? Email? All too often, we categorize "broken" machines: Bad hardware, virus infection, OS installation, etc. Make sure that you address the original reason that the client is bringing their computer to you.

    2. Recommend a solution. Make sure you and the client are on the same page as far as what they are being charged for, and what services will be performed in accordance with them. I.E. "I'm invoicing you for a diagnostic. A diagnostic will not actually fix your machine. Instead, since we don't know at the moment exactly what's wrong with it, we'll run the different tools at our disposal to let you know what the issue is and how we can fix it."

    3. Notes notes notes. Yes you just listened to a nice old lady tell you about all the bugs and hackers out to get her for 30 minutes. You now need to dechipher your conversation back into technical terms and let your team know what's going on what the machine you checked in.

    When you actually get to work on the machine: (We're assuming that you're working on Grandma's PC that has viruses)

    1. Diagnostics: Run whatever hardware diagnostics your company provides to you.
    a. If you're working on a desktop, pop open the case and check for distended capacitors.
    b. Run a memory diag.
    c. Run a hard drive diag.
    d. Your company may or may not have proccessor/mobo diagnostics ran as well.

    2. OS Repair: If you're new to virus/spyware removal, you may want to use scanners for awhile until you get familiar with Windows XP/Vista and exactly what does what. If you do feel ready, make sure that before you go into a client's machine and start nuking files that you really pay attention to what you're doing. All it takes is one OOPS and your machine can start BSODing. One strategy that works fairly well is to not actually delete the files. Instead, just move them into another area on the hard drive. You'll find that viruses are pretty much like any other program, and they need different componets to execute correctly. If you move a bad file from C:\Windows\system32 into say...C:\Documents and Settings\%user%\Desktop\Possible Bad Files then you've effectively "broken" the path that the virus executes from.

    Another method is to rename the extension of files that you're not sure of. Lets say you have a file that you suspect is an infected file: av2009.exe. You can rename that file to something like av2009.badfile and it will break the executable.

    3. More NOTES NOTES NOTES: Everything you do to fix the machine (and things you've tried) need to be documented. You ran a winsock reset to get the machine to pull a good IP? Great! If that didn't work however, save your buddy some time before he comes up behind you and does another Winsock repair for nothing and wastes his time (and your company's labor).

    4. Completion: Double check your work. If someone paid a price for your service and they get home and still have the same issue (remember number 1?) then you've

    a.) Made the client drive home, hook up their PC, find out the issue is still present, take down the PC, bring it back to the store, and raise hell.
    b.) Hurt your company's reputation.
    c.) Lost future revenue.

    5. Education: When the client comes to the store to pick up the unit, hook it up and show them that the issue has been resolved. Cover what was done to the machine (briefly-dont necessarily give the computer's life story), recommend future good strategies: "I know you love, but make sure that when advertisements present themselves that that you dont fill out your information and install unnecessary programs." Explain the importance updating their antivirus/antispyware, and briefly touch on EXCEPTIONS. Each antivirus/antispyware usually has an exceptions list. There will be times where an antimalware program will pop up and ask "What do you want me to do? Allow or Block?" This is how people get infected while still having active antivirus or antispyware. Ultimately, most people have administrative access of their computers. They have the ability to override any antivirus program, and to do so they need to excercise extreme caution.

    I know that this was a bit long, but these are some of the things that I wish someone had told me when I first started in this industry. There are so many things to learn with IT, and I really hope that anyone who reads this finds it somewhat helpful.

    As always, good luck!

    Another edit:
    Talk to clients in terms they can understand. This is huge in our industry. I was once asked in an interview "How would you explain corrupted sectors on a hard drive to your grandmother?" If people feel like you're talking over them or down to them then its easy to get off the same page. Keep it simple, even though you may love to explain how you repaired a corrupted system hive by replacing it with a copy from a system restore point (I did this today, haha).
  • veritas_libertasveritas_libertas Member Posts: 5,746 ■■■■■■■■■■

    I thinks this will be a great resource for you :)
  • PC509PC509 Member Posts: 803 ■■■■■■□□□□
    Ultimate Boot CD, and UBCD for Windows are awesome boot CD's. There are also a lot of tools that are very useful at, that you can put on a USB drive (also see about downloading a write protection program to keep the USB drive from getting infected!). Some viruses have specific ways of removing them. I've found that some are removed using obscure tools (smitfraudfix) or a different than usual spyware removal program (Malwarebytes vs. Spybot vs. Adaware). You'll learn what to use and when, and how to research which to use. Also, HijackThis is a wonderful tool, and there are forums you can post to that have people that can diagnose the logs until you get good at it. If you and the customer have the time, that is.

    MCDST would be very beneficial to you, and the CCENT or Net+ (Net+ is more vendor neutral than the CCENT, which is based on Cisco).

    But, in this industry, you won't know everything. I can guarantee that ANYONE and EVERYONE in this forum, or even top Intel or Microsoft developers would find something they've never encountered before while doing your job. You will never stop learning, and new issues will come up everyday. The biggest thing you will use isn't a tool you can download, it's your brain. You need to learn (and it's a constant learning!) how to diagnose and work with the problem. You won't always know the solution, but you know what to look for, how to search for an answer, and then fix it. Google is your friend, as are many of the online forums. Fixing it is the easy part, even a monkey can fix a computer, but finding the solution and preventing it in the future is the hard part. It's like medicine. Sometimes, it just takes a simple snip and clip and stitches. We could do that, probably. But, knowing where to clip, snip and remove is the hard part.

    You'll have times when you can't figure out what's wrong or causing a problem, and they are the worst. There are times when I get so frustrated and pissed off to no end..... Then I realize I forgot to move the jumper on the CMOS clear.... Once I forgot to put the CPU in, but I did put the heatsink on... Embarrassing, yes. But, it happens no matter what experience you have.

    Cool part is, after working with workstations for a while, you'll be able to go to a huge data center and be able to work on pretty much any server. They are all basically the same thing (better technology and whatnot, but all based on the same).

    Just learn and don't give up. It's a fun job if you love it. Horrible if you don't like working on computers. I love taking them apart just to change one little thing. You gotta have passion. You have that, and you'll go to the top of wherever you want to go.
  • Darian929Darian929 Member Posts: 197
    Guys I cant express enough how thankful i am for your answers.. really they are super helpful, and one thing im great at is asking questions! jaja. Whenever i dont know something I always ask whoever i think might know to be able to learn because with questions is how you learn.. nobody just opened a computer and knew how to diagnose this and use this program.. somebody taught them or they asked questions. At work they were telling me that the guy's were trying to bundle all their software to make a bundle at work that everyone could use. So thats great. Also I always use google for everything whether its windows errors or anything because most cases problems ill have.. someones had before and they'll be online. Thanks a lot guy's and if there is any questions I have you know i'll be asking here! Soon imma buy the MCDST to study it.
  • Agent6376Agent6376 Member Posts: 201
    Darian929 wrote: »
    Soon imma buy the MCDST to study it.

    Stay away from T*stking, P*ss4sure, and other braindumps. *see edit* will tell you which study materials are legitmate.

    Edit: I had a typo in and even after editing it, it still sends you to the wrong site. Sorry!
  • pennystraderpennystrader Member Posts: 155
    The 2 mentioned bartPE(my favorite and you will learn alot making plugins) and UBCD. I run my business besides working full time as a server engineer and if you message me on the forum I can answer any question if you have any to ask. I am too lazy to post all after Agent did a good job:) I will answer any personal questions though if you have any. I do house calls and work a few small businesses and remove spyware, fix registry, viruses, do VB scripting etc. I don;t run into much I can't fix and I use 98% free tools. I have researched and tested them all in my lab and if you know what tool to use you have saved yourself money and your customer and they are grateful and call you for repeat business.

    The more knowledge one obtains the more there is too accumulate.....

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