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Basic Toolkit for the Home Computer

There are some basic tools that you will need if you plan to do routine maintenance on your computer system. Complete toolkits are available from a variety of sources, but from my experience, unless you plan to purchase an expensive professional toolkit, you are further ahead to just buy what you need. Avoid buying the cheapest tools that you can find as sooner or later you will be replacing them. Like any other tools that you buy for home use, purchase good quality items.

The following is a list the basic tools that I keep handy for working on a computer:

Large phillips and flat-bladed screw drivers for removing the computer case.

Small phillips and flat-bladed screw drivers for adding or removing adapter cards, disk drives, cables, etc. Do not use screw drivers with magnetic heads! If you have a Compaq computer, you will also need a small set of Torx drivers.

A small set of needle nosed pliers or tweezers to get at hard to reach places in case you drop something inside the computer or need to change the jumper settings on adapter cards and drives.

Anti-static wrist wrap to protect the computer's circuitry from static electricity. In order for you to feel static electricity, it must be around 2,000 volts. To toast a semiconductor in a computer, it only takes about 20 volts. Remember, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Small pipe wrench or channel lock pliers for removing screws that have been stripped on the computer case.

Small flashlight and a small mirror to see in tight places.

Small set of open and/or box end wrenches for adding or removing drives. In addition to the above, I also keep some basic cleaning supplies in my toolkit such as keyboard swabs for cleaning the keyboard, anti-static screen cleaner for the monitor, and a can of compressed air for cleaning off the dust on the keyboard and inside the computer. I use Dust-Off, but there are many brands available. Make sure you read the instructions before using compressed air containers as they contain a liquid that can get on your keyboard or inside your computer if they are used improperly.