It’s worthwhile to assemble a toolkit that contains the hand tools and software utilities that you need to work on PCs. If you work on PCs only occasionally, you can get by with a fairly Spartan set of tools. If you work on PCs frequently, devote some time, effort, and money to assembling a reasonably complete set of hand tools and utilities. The following sections detail the components that we’ve found worth carrying in our toolkits.

Hand Tools

You don’t need many tools for routine PC upgrades and repairs. We’ve successfully repaired PCs using only a Swiss army knife, but a more complete set of tools makes jobs easier. Putting together a dedicated PC toolkit and keeping it in a fixed location avoids the hassle of looking for a tool when what you really want to do is work on your PC.

Your first thought may be to buy one of those PC toolkits available from various sources, but we suggest you avoid them. Inexpensive kits available from most mail-order vendors contain shoddy tools and are not worth even their low price. Kits available from specialty catalogs like Specialized Products ( and Jensen ( are fine if you fix PCs for a living (and if your company buys the kit). Otherwise they’re overkill and much too expensive.

Instead of buying any of the prepackaged kits, head for Sears and assemble your own PC toolkit. The basic tools you need for routine PC work cost under $50. Store these tools together, using a tool wrapper ...

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