Are you the person your family and friends call for all of their technical needs? I am, but part of that is because it is also my job. I thought I would put together a hub with some of the primary needs of a “tech-guy.” The list will include both the hardware and software I believe is most beneficial. This list does not include your own personal computer (a laptop is nice for mobility).
Great Software for Your Flash Drive
WEB Browser installers
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
- 7 Zip
- Team Viewer
- ADW Cleaner
- Unstoppable Coppier
1. Flash Drives
This seems obvious, but what you have on those flash drives may not be quite as obvious. I would definitely recommend having at least one blank flash drive with at least 4 or 8 gigabytes of space. It will allow for you to quickly grab a few files that you need from one computer and put them on another.
I would recommend having a flash drive with the current versions of Java (both 32 and 64 bit), Adobe Flash for both Internet Explorer and Firefox (Google Chrome has it built in), installers for both Google Chrome and Firefox, and many more. A great place to get the current version of all of that except Flash is Ninite. Just remember to make sure that you have the most current version before starting your technical support. Flash can be downloaded from one of their forums that they keep up to date.
I would have a final flash drive (at least 32 gigabytes) with a Windows to Go on it. This will be covered more in a later section of this hub.
2. Portable Hard Drive
This is going to be very important when you have someone that needs help backing up their computer and reinstalling their operating system. I would suggest getting at least a 500 gigabyte hard drive, but for the price drops a 1 terabyte isn’t all that expensive. You could also put Windows to Go on this hard drive, that way you could back everything up in a live environment, and not risk corrupting data if the computer has a bad virus.
3. Tool Kit
If you are savvy enough to install memory or replace hard drives, a tool like is extremely helpful. Many people that you help will have tool or a tool box, but most of those tool are going to be far too large for a computer. The tool kit to the right is a great and inexpensive. Rosewill also has larger tool kits to pick from, but the 45 piece should do exactly what you need.
4. Anti- Static Wrist Strap
I have one of these, but when working on my own computer I do not use it. I find it slightly uncomfortable and restricting. However, if you are helping a friend or family member with their computer, it is extremely important to use. You don’t want to be the reason their new computer that you were doing slight modifications on is fried. Just take precaution and wear it. Also, it comes in the Tool Kit above.
5. Universal Laptop Charger
You would be surprised how many people do not think it is important to have a computer that is charged or even bring their charger with them. I have had to use my own universal charger many times. The charger to the right will again do everything that you need. It is just nice to spend a few extra dollars so that you have everything you need even if the person you’re helping doesn’t.
6. Live Operating System
What is a live operating system? It is basically an operating system that you put on a flash drive or DVD to boot to so that you can access the customer’s computer even if the hard drive is acting up or failing. There are times when you get a computer that is giving you the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), and you just cannot get into the operating system, even using safe mode. That’s when a live operating system is fantastic. It bypasses the hard drive boot options and boots from your flash drive instead.
Windows to Go is a live operating system. You boot to it and it’s like you’re in Windows, but not the Windows that your customer is using, your own windows. You can see their hard drive from it, and can copy over their data if needed. It works wonderfully. Here is how you set up a Windows to Go flash drive (or hard drive).
Windows isn’t the only operating system with a live functionality, Ubuntu has a pretty solid one as well. Sometimes in Linux, you can access more than you can through windows especially trying to access documents with special permission issues. Here is how to create a Linux Live flash drive.
7. ADW Cleaner
This piece of software has been a godsend over the last couple years. The days of full-fledged viruses are coming to an end because it’s easier to just infect the web browser you are using. This is one of the pieces of software I would recommend for your flash drive, but it deserves its own section. Once you install the software, you will simply choose to scan the computer. Once that is done, you can remove the infected files and restart. It’s super easy to use and is absolutely incredible. To download this software, simply click on this link and wait for the download to start.
Malwarebytes has been a staple in the computing world for a long time. They just recently joined forces with Adware Medic to provide their virus scan to Mac as well. “BUT JOSH, MACS DON’T GET VIRUSES” and to that statement you should be smacked. A world where more and more people are owning Mac products, it was only a matter of time before viruses were being written for them. However, there still haven’t been many true viruses for Mac, but like I said earlier, the full “computer virus” is becoming scarcer, and there is more and more adware for your web browsers. Malwarebytes is here to help and will scan the computer and search everywhere for any signs of malware, and does a fantastic job of finding it. You can download Malwarebytes for Mac HERE and for Windows HERE.
9. Unstoppable Copier
When it comes to copying data from one hard drive to another, you sometimes run into issues. Unstoppable Copier by Roadkill takes those issues and throws them in the trash! It is very simple to download and even easier to use. You will just need to download it and select the folders you want to copy, and the location you want to put the copied data.
The number one thing when being a “tech-guy” is the ability to google your problems. If you’re having an issue, it’s likely that someone else is also having the same issue. Look it up! You will probably find a solution. You may have found this hub by googling for a solution! The number one secret in the Technical Support is “We don’t know everything, google does, and we just know how to find it.” I go into that a little more in my 5 Things I’ve Learned Working in Technical Support hub.
If there is anything in this article that you would like me to write a hub on, or if there are any technical issues you’re having, please let me know in the comments below. Also, let me know if you would like a video demonstration of anything in this article.
Jeff Zod from Nairobi on December 18, 2018:
Thanks for the very enlightening article. I am an IT guy,I am sometimes called for technical support.This is a very useful list of tools to have. I have most of the tools and the additional ones will be helpful.
Commander Timmy on September 19, 2015:
Some great stuff!