There are numerous tools available to help technology professionals repair and diagnose computer issues. Flash drives have made it very affordable to carry a large amount of storage in ones pocket anywhere they go and are idea for carrying these software tools and even live Linux distributions on the go. Flash drives are the perfect tool for busy technology professional because instead of carry around books full of optical media or other storage media. Many modern machines, ultrabooks in particular, don’t even have optical disk drives anymore because the computers have become so slim. Putting together flash drive toolkit puts all the tools need in one’s pocket to fix just about any computer problem.

Live Bootable Tools:

Backtrack: Security testing tool

DBAN: Secure Hard Drive Erasing tool

GParted: Live Disk Partitioning tool

Ophcrack– Windows password cracking/recovering tool

System Rescue CD– Multi-purpose system repair tools including multiple tests and tools for repair.

Ubuntu– Good general-purpose Linux operating system for testing basic functionality and recovering data off of a non-bootable hard drive

Making a Bootable Flash Drive:
Yumi is a free application that makes creating a bootable flash drive as easy as it can be. Simply follow these steps to install live tools on a flash drive.

  1. Download and Run Yumi
  2. Select the Drive one wishes to make bootable
  3. Select the distribution or tool of choice (See above for recommendations)
  4. Check Download ISO unless you have the ISO file already
  5. Wait for ISO download to complete
  6. Browse to downloaded ISO file
  7. Click Create
  8. Repeat Steps 3-7 for each tool desired

Software Tools:

In addition to live bootable tools, there are plenty of useful free tools that can run on one’s machines like a regular applications.  Many of these tools don’t require installation or can run off of a flash drive as a portable application, some however do need to be installed on the system. It is a good idea to uninstall these tools when finished working to prevent users from using them incorrectly.

Malware Removal:

System Cleanup:

Best Practices:

Since software is always a growing, changing thing and even more importantly that new virus definitions come out everyday, keep one’s tools up-to-date is essential. Creating a toolkit provides a technician  access to powerful tools, but they lose their power when left out of date leaving them ineffective. It’s like a chef’s knife, if it gets dull, it will be harder to use and more dangerous for the user. Here a few final tips for keeping your tool sharp:

  • Check for updates regularly
  • Be sure to scan the drive for malware incase it becomes infected from use with infected machines
  • Clone the toolkit drive to disk image and/or another drive incase one is lost, broken or compromised

About the Author

MikeMike Gdovin has been blogging about technology since 2006 on his blog, He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Media from Kutztown University with a minor in Journalism, Public Relations and Business. In addition to blogging about technology, Mike is a video producer, technology consultant and social media expert.