The Ultimate Toolbox
At THG we sometimes stumble onto a story that we think is worth writing about. For example, I was at a local computer store and bumped into a customer whose system was on the service bench for repair. As it turned out, this person happened to be a THG reader. We started talking about the odd problems he was having with his system that caused him to have to bring it in to the shop. It seemed that even the technicians at the store could not seem to isolate the problem he was having with his system. This customer suggested that it might need a more expert look, and wondered if I could look at his system quickly to see if I could isolate the problem. After talking about the computer at length, I realized that this had been an ongoing ordeal for him for over a week, and I agreed to break my own rule about not working on other people's systems. Since the owner of the computer store knows me well, I asked him if he minded if I brought in my tools and took a quick look at this customer's system. The owner replied that he didn't mind, since his technicians were really stumped as to what was causing the system problem.
Unlike most other THG editors, my background is in IT. In the corporate IT environment, I had to be prepared to handle almost any emergency, so I am in the habit of never leaving home without my toolbox. This time, having my tools with me worked out well. Upon returning to the store with my toolbox, the store customer looked at my toolbox and said, "What an incredible toolbox! You have all of the right equipment to handle almost any problem. You should write an article about this on THG. I think readers would really like to know what equipment makes up a good toolbox for the technician who works on computers every day."
Perhaps titling this story "The Ultimate Toolbox" is a little over the top, but the idea behind this story is to give you an idea what tools I think are important to carry with you when you are on the road. This is my everyday toolbox that I use in the lab and when I leave home, and what I have in it reflects the types of repair and troubleshooting problems that I have encountered. Since I happen to run into a lot of networking-related problems, I carry a lot of networking-related tools, as well as my normal computer tools. If you don't work on networks, you obviously won't need to carry these tools.
This article is perhaps better looked at as a recommendation of some of the types of tools you might consider adding to your toolbox. You will probably come up with ideas for other things to add to your toolbox, as well. The end result is that you want to have a collection of tools that will serve your needs on work assignments, while having all of those tools in one location that is portable. Although organizing a toolbox isn't as much fun as playing the latest computer game, it will save you time and future headaches, so that when you are pressed into service, you are ready.