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 such as Specialized Products (www.specializedproducts.com) and Jensen (www.jensentools.com) are fine if you fix PCs for a living (or 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 less than $50. Store these tools together, using a tool wrapper (available from auto parts stores) or a zipper case (available from specialty tool vendors or a home improvement warehouse). You can often buy sets of pliers, screwdrivers, and so forth for less than what you’d pay for each individually. We carry only the tools we need, so we usually buy the set, remove the ones we really wanted for our toolkit, and contribute the remainder to the general stock of tools around the house. Table 2-1 lists ...

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