Computer Repair Tools

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Table 1.1 lists various PC repair tools and the importance of each.

Table 1.1: PC Repair Tools



Standard screwdrivers (not magnetic)

High-quality Phillips screwdrivers are indispensable. At the very least, you’ll need small and larger Phillips screwdrivers with various shaft lengths. A few different sized flat-head screwdrivers are very helpful to have. Do not use magnetic screwdrivers inside computers.

Cordless rechargeable screwdriver

Saves time and effort; especially useful when fixing multiple computers.

Paper clips

An unbent paper clip makes a perfect tool for releasing the drawer of an optical disc drive (see Chapter 7, “CD and DVD Drives”).


Essential. A multitester has many uses, the most common of which is testing power supplies. It can test voltage, continuity, resistance, and more. Unlike a multitester, a voltmeter’s only function is to measure voltage.

ATX power supply tester

A simple tool that indicates whether the power supply is indeed outputting power, and provides convenient terminals that allow you to easily test the voltage using a voltmeter or multitester.

Cable testers

Testers are available for most types of cables used with a computer. While there are other ways to test cables, such as swapping them with known good cables, cable testers save time and trouble.

Port-testing software

Used to determine whether various ports are working correctly.

Breakout boxes

Another device used for testing cables and ports. Allows complete flexibility in changing the electrical configuration of cables and ports for testing purposes.

Loopback adapters

Available for serial and parallel ports, loopback adapters simulate signals that are input into a computer. Works with port-testing software, described earlier.

Anti-static (ESD) wristbands or anklebands

Tool to protect computer circuits against the damage even carpet shocks can cause.

Anti-static (ESD) spray

Very effective in reducing static electricity on fabric and carpet.

Anti-static (ESD) mats

Provides a static-free surface. Can be used with anti-static wristbands. Includes anti-static floor mats.

POST card

A card that can be plugged into an expansion slot and contains a small display to a show a problem code, POST cards are timesavers that provide accurate and specific diagnoses.

Diagnostic software such as Micro-Scope and PC Certify

A worthwhile investment. These products can significantly reduce the time needed to diagnose all sorts of computer problems.

Disk drive installation software

Software utilities that are provided by the drive manufacturers and from other sources, many of which are available at no charge. These sometimes come with the drives, but can also be downloaded.

BIOS flashing utilities (by companies such as MR BIOS®)

Use these to flash BIOSs and to perform other rescue operations on BIOSs and CMOS chips with problems. See Chapter 3.

USB network adapter

Allows for easy network access on a computer that has USB ports but no internal network adapter. Used for data transfer and Internet access on networks set up for it.

Internet access

Allows access to Web-based virus-scanning software and other utilities, and easy downloads of device drivers. See Chapter 2. It is also essential for obtaining technical support. See Chapter 11, “Troubleshooting.”

Data transfer cables

Cables of various types such as serial (null-modem), parallel, and USB that allow for different methods of data transfer. Very often, the best solution for a computer with serious OS trouble is to format the hard drives (which erases all content), and reinstall the OS and all software. Data transfer is often the most efficient method of saving data that will be erased by formatting the drive. Various software utilities, some of which are supplied with Windows, allow for data transfer through these cables.

Cleaning and maintenance tools: vacuums and dust-cleaning sprays

Computers get dusty inside, and dust build-up interferes with proper cooling. Use sprays such as Blow Off™ while vacuuming to clean out the dust. See Chapter 2 for details. In addition, the accompanying CD-ROM has a visual presentation of the proper cleaning methods.

CD/DVD scratch repair kits

These can often save damaged software and data discs.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

These provide continuous power to a computer when there is a power failure. Indispensable when making changes to a computer’s BIOS, because a power failure during these operations will render a computer useless unless a replacement BIOS chip is obtained, which isn’t always possible.

Data-recovery software

Software that can often recover data from damaged hard drives.

Data-recovery companies (such as Ontrack)

When a hard drive crashes and the data on the drive is extremely valuable, these companies can often recover data from these drives for a substantial fee.

Problem-solving software

Various software programs such as Norton Utilities™ and McAfee® Clinic that solve many different computer problems and optimize performance.

Infrared temperature sensor

Available from companies such as Raytek (, this uses a laser to point at an object such as a CPU to detect its temperature. Can be very helpful in detecting bad connections or heat-related problems.

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PC Repair and Maintenance(c) A Practical Guide
PC Repair and Maintenance: A Practical Guide (Charles River Media Networking/Security)
ISBN: 1584502665
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 175

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