G'day! Have been at this end of business for a while now, and have
found the following very practical:
Software: Major operating systems - copy of win95 / 98 / ME, 2000 (demo
has the same install files), XP, DOS 6.2, win98 boot disk, norton
system-works PRO (it includes Ghost), and the latest copy of NAV. Too,
Sisofts SANDRA 2003 pro (good for benchmarking / burning in pc's), and
WINZIP (whatever the latest version is)
Tools: Phillips screwdriver (one long handle, one stubby), micro /
precision screwdriver kit (includes Torx, phillips, slot). Small
flashlight, nuts/bolts/standoffs, CPU Paste
Supplies: Drive cables (scsi, ide, floppy) audio cables (cd-rom to
card/mo-board), one complete board/cpu/memory for emergency swap-outs
(sort of current - update your machine periodically and use the other
one as a spare), AT and ATX power-supply (one of each - make sure the
ATX is certified for P4), spare key-board, mouse, low-end video card for
testing, at least one NIC (all of this fits on a largish box to haul
around with you), patch cables (variety of sizes), small hub / switch,
There are some diagnostic cards that are comercially available, but they
seem to be capable of little more than reading the POST beeps (which
most people can hear) and report that back - don't bother with them.
Go to www.startech.com and sign up for a reseller account - most of the
above is CHEAP from them, and their shipping is reliable. They have
some basic LAN tools too.
Hope this helps.
Paul Stelter MCP / A+
Great stuff Paul, sounds like a 'kit' built on experience. Course, since I'm
posting I have to add a few things, I'm betting some you already have but I
thought I would mention them since we do have many new pc technicians
reading the group.
On the operating Systems:
Include boot floppies for each and note that for most cases you can burn
yourself one cd with the cab files for all in thier own respective folders,
i.e Win98 Win95 WinME, etc. Unless of course you intend selling operating
systems to a prospective customer. One more note make sure you keep a spare
floppy drive and cdrom drive with you.
Every hardrive manufacturer offers a free diagnostic/install tool, down load
these and make the boot floppies for each. There are commercial packages
that would do all manufacturers, but its money you could better spend
DocMemory from Simmtester.com
Antivirus tools - not meaning full fledged software but virus specific
removal tools such as those from symantec. A Technician should keep up to
date with the 'current' viruses at minimum and have removal tools handy.
While your there download Rnav.exe (Norton Antivirus removal tool) and
Symclean.exe (Systemworks removal tool) If you run across a mucked up
installation of Nav or systemworks, whether by virus or otherwise, those two
will be neccesary to get it going again.
Adobe Acrobat reader
Internet Explorer 5.0 - 5.5 - 6.0
AdAware and/or Spybot
ATX switch/load adapter
small wire snips
Spare floppy drive(s)
Spare cdrom drive(s)
At least one floppy and one cdrom should be considered 'tools'. Believe it
or not I have fixed systems that had bad cdrom drives in addition to other
problems, yet the customer chose not to pay the extra 45 bucks for the drive
that was neccesary to fix the other problems.
At least one spare hard drive, I say one simply because size and pricing
changes so fast you don't want to get stuck with an overpriced undersized
hard drive you have to eat, as your business supports you may be able to
keep more than one.
IDE cables - make sure you have ultradma cables, older cables still have
some use, just make sure you have some of newer type available.
mATX power supply
USB mouse and keyboard
I have to agree that the value of post cards are questionable, typically the
rolls out like this, they are expensive enough that the new technician
doesn't buy them, then by the time enough money is rolling in the techician
has gained enough experince that the real value of the card has gone down
too much to justify the cost.