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The IT Toolkit

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Anyone in the systems support business has a “toolkit” of some sort - the tools of the trade, if you will. In order to effectively and efficiently solve problems you have to have the right tools on hand at all times. What these tools are varies from tech to tech, but essentially, we all face the same type of issues and have to provide solutions for our clients.

Each technician works and troubleshoots differently and the tools used are generally subjective and based on personal experience and successes. Over the years, I have added and changed up my tool set based on necessity as well as what others use or recommend.  

The following is my standard “Crash Cart” - the rolling toolbox I have on hand at all times. I am able to address the majority of issues with this kit.  

Hardware
Two patch cables, currently CAT5e.
One crossover cable. You never know when you need it.
RJ 11 and 45 crimp tool and a handful of ends.
Coax stripper and crimp tool with a handful of ends.
Cable test and tone equipment.
Punch tool.
4G USB flash drive.
500G (small profile SATA) external drive.

Software
2G USB flash drive with PortableApps (KeePass, OOo Writer and Calc, ClamWin)

System
I use my Mac PowerBook for everything. I have VMWare Fusion installed with three VM’s: Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Debian Lenny. Adding a Win7 soon and replacing Debian with Linux Mint (Isadora). With this combination of operating systems I can work in just about any environment.

Misc. Other
Blank CDR’s
Blank DVDR’s
Candy and Peanuts. A must have. You never know how long you’re going to be working an issue. It’s nice to have a little snack on hand. And no, I don’t keep them in the bag forever, I pickup new supplies frequently.

Being prepared for just about anything is crucial in the systems support trade and the tools you have on hand are crucial to get you through. What’s in your tool kit?
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Author:tniemetz
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