PC Magazine just published an article on the essentials of an At-Home IT Toolkit, which I found very helpful and interesting. They listed 17 of the most popular computer tools IT experts use or should use to help save them time and money when it comes to any computer-related issues. Here are my top 8 picks from the list.
Holding the #1 spot on PCMag’s list is Teamviewer, a program that lets you connect to any PC or server around the world within a few seconds. As anyone working in the IT industry already knows, the second anyone finds out you “know about” computers, your phone number will get passed on to aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends of friends of friends. Using Teamviewer, you eliminate the draining process of trying to explain everything to someone who doesn’t understand anything about IT, and can instead remotely control their computer as if you were sitting right in front of it, getting the job done quickly and effectively. Teamviewer requires no installation, just a simple Internet connection and running the application on both sides. Best of all of it’s free and secure.
2. Avast! BART CD
The avast! Bootable Antivirus & Recovery Tool (BART) CD is a bootable CD, giving you the capability to detect and remove virus infections on a computer. It can do a complete malware cleanup of your computer and also contains tools for editing registry files as well as a tool to check and fix disk errors. This great program costs $149 per year and is primarily intended for corporate and service personnel use. If you are looking for something free, for personal use, Free Registry Cleaner is very highly rated and works on all versions of Windows, up to Windows Vista. It has a disk cleanup utility, startup manager, uninstall manager and process manager. Reviews also claim it finds a lot more keys to remove than other registry cleaners.
3. Ubuntu LiveCD
If your Windows computer won’t boot anymore, one of the easiest methods to access your data is to use Ubuntu LiveCD. LiveCD is a bootable, workable version of the operating system that runs from the CD/DVD drive, but you can also run it on a USB flash drive. It is completely free and gives you access to all the files on your hard drives. You can also run memtest to check your RAM and Disk Utility to check the hard drive and edit drive partitions. You can even make a customized live system to create a bootable Ubuntu LiveCD from scratch without having to start from a pre-existing LiveCd.
4. TRENDnet Network Cable Tester
The TC-NT2 is a comprehensive cable tester for network professionals. Its user-friendly features enable network installers to accurately check pin configurations of various voice and data communication cables for lengths of up to 300meters (984 Ft.) It also includes a master unit that transmits test signals to its corresponding remote terminator to verify cable reliability. TRENDnet Network Cable Tester costs $52.99.
ReProfiler is a free tool for manipulating user profiles on Windows 2000 up to Windows 7. ReProfiler permits easy reassignment of Windows user profiles, which have become detached from their accounts. ReProfiler offers a quick and easy way to see which profile is associated with which user and if a problem is evident, it then provides an intuitive and straightforward means of correcting the profile ownership.
6. Anti-Static wristband
The Anti-Static wristband prevents static shocks when performing any maintenance or repairs on a computer. It dissipates harmful static so you can install or remove parts without fear of damaging your computer.
LookInMyPC is an excellent free tool when you’re having troubleshooting problems. It tells you exactly what’s going on with your computer, generating a complete, comprehensive system profile that includes information on all installed hardware and software. It also provides full system diagnostic information like details on running processes, installed services, startup programs, Windows updates, active network and Internet connections, event log detail, and much more.
A must-have for any IT professional or computer geek, inSSIDer was the Winner of InfoWorld’s Best of Open Source Software Awards. This free tool scans networks within reach of your computer’s Wi-Fi antenna, tracks signal strength over time, and determines their security settings, including whether or not they’re password-protected. Created by MetaGeek, inSSIDer is an alternative to network scanners like NetStumbler in that it works with Windows Vista, Windows 7, and 64-bit PCs.
Here is the link to see all 17 IT tools listed in the PC Magazine article.