The Budget PC Toolkit

Owning a computer is much like owning a car. You need to give it proper maintenance in order for it to function properly. There may also be times when you need to do repairs.

Contrary to popular belief, a computer system is not at all that complicated once you know the basic concepts on how it works. With the proper tools, computer repair and maintenance can be a do – it – yourself job.

A computer system can be loosely divided into to main parts – the software and the hardware. Software are programs that run on the computer, including the Operating System. The hardware part is composed of the physical components – the Central Processing Unit (CPU), keyboard, mouse, all peripherals, and the monitor.

To be successful in computer repair, it is a must that your toolkit be composed of tools and utilities for both software and hardware. If you are on a tight budget, you do not need to spend much money buying tools that you will almost never use on a computer.

Here are some of the most important software tools that you need to have:

1. Boot – up or startup disks

A computer may be unable to start up due to an error caused by a recent configuration change or a peripheral addition. You may need to boot from an external source when this happens, so that you can undo whatever is causing the error. You can usually create startup disks from within the operating system while it is still running properly, or create it from another computer. This will enable you to access the computer’s operating system files and make the needed changes.

2. Antivirus disks

There are viruses that cannot be removed while the operating system is loaded. These are persistent viruses that infect your critical operating system files. You will need to clean the system before the operating system loads. This is when an antivirus disk comes in handy. This is usually a bootable diskette or flash drive that will load itself before your operating system. It will then scan files on your computer for possible virus infection and will also repair the files if needed.

3. Disk and partition manager disks

These disks will enable you to correct master boot record (MBR) and partition errors. It can also scan your hard disk drive for file system errors and bad sectors.

For computer hardware repair and maintenance, here are the most important tools that you must have:

1. Screw drivers

Although the Philips screw is the most common type of screw that you will encounter on a computer system, a flat head screw driver may also come in handy for prying and doing adjustments on some parts. Make sure that your screw drivers are not magnetized, as these may destroy the sensitive components on a computer. Having screw drivers in variable lengths will also help a lot.

2. Tweezers

The motherboard and most peripherals on a computer have jumper switches that you may need to adjust, depending on the problem. Tweezers will come in handy for removing and changing the position of these jumper switches.

3. Long nose pliers

For bigger jumper switches, long nose pliers may do the job. This tool may also come in handy for straightening out pins of certain components. It can also be used for loosening overly tight screws and bending pieces of metal that may get in the way of your repair.

4. Flashlight

Yes, it is dark on the inside of a computer. You may need to read very small prints of part numbers and serial numbers. A flashlight and magnifying lens will work great together in these scenarios.

5. Cable ties

Some repairs may require you to cut existing cable ties that are binding the computer wires to gain access to components. After you are done with the inspection or repair, be sure to put new cable ties on the wires to keep the air circulation flowing inside and keep things organized inside the CPU.

You may notice that most of the tools above are not expensive. Some are even free. Having a budget PC toolkit does not mean you have to sacrifice the functionality of your toolkit. Knowing which tools are most essential is important in building the perfect toolkit for PC repair and maintenance.