Friday, May 11, 2012

7 Portable Troubleshooting Tools You Can't Do Without

7 Portable Troubleshooting Tools You Can't Do WithoutAny professional in any industry will tell you that before you solve a problem or build a new system you need to have the proper tools. These tools differ from industry to industry, but most are physical hardware. In the computer world, most tools are in the form of software. Some of this software is expensive, but there is a wide variety of software out there for the new computer techs and home users. Many computer techs have a number of USB thumb drives, and at least one of them contains a large amount of portable software for troubleshooting and problem solving purposes. I am going to show you many of the tools I use for troubleshooting and basic problem solving. All of these tools have a portable version and can easily fit on a USB stick, and will only take up around 6 MB's of data.

Ccleaner: This tool is one of a few developed by a company called Piriform. All their tools are free for personal use, and they are very well built. The program Ccleaner is designed to clean up your PC by removing temporary and unnecessary files. Ccleaner also has a function for getting rid of broken registry keys, and allows you to backup your registry.I use this tool on my home computers and when I am fixing a computer, and its very effective for removing all those annoying temporary files.

Speccy: Another tool by Piriform, Speccy is a system information tool. It will quickly display all you need to know about the computer you are on so you don't have to search through all of those pesky settings to find a little bit of information.

FixWin: is a powerful Windows tool designed to fix the more common Windows errors and problems. It even lets you do stuff like creating a restore point. This is a must have if you are working on Windows computers. FixWin has a very simple, straightforward interface.

ClamWin: This is a lightweight portable anti-virus software. This tool is useful especially when you can't install anti-malware software on your clients computer because of all the problems. You still need to update ClamWin by downloading an updated version of its virus definition database. This should be done before you go to fix a computer.

Codec Tweak Tool: We all have had codec problems, but there isn't much you can do except reinstall and hope for the best. The Codec Tweak Tool is a lightweight version of the tool that comes with the K-lite Codec Pack. This is handy if you are having problems playing audio or video files on a computer. This program will scan your codec's and try to fix any problems it finds.

Recuva: I know, it might seem like I am promoting Piriform, but I'm not. Their tools are very widely used and accepted in most tech circles as some of the best free software out there.
This tool, Recuva, allows you to recover deleted files. If you have ever fixed computers before, you know this one is a life saver. There is nothing quite like the look on a customers face when you do the impossible (for them), such as recover their data or bring their PC back to working order. Recuva is unique in that it has a deep scan tool, which will find deleted data that most other tools can't.

Hijack This: This is an advanced troubleshooting tool for professionals. This tool will do a system scan and generates a log file of registry values and common software settings that malware uses so you can analyze and troubleshoot your computer. This is considered an advanced troubleshooting tool because it does not differentiate between malware and regular software so you need knowledge of the inner workings of your computer to be able to use this tool properly.
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