Computer Hardware Repair Toolkit

  • towel - as a work surface: prevents screws from rolling or bouncing to the floor
  • power bar - make sure I have enough electrical outlets at my work space
  • a laptop - for looking up how-to-fix-it instructions, and for hooking up hard drives to retrieve data from dead computers
  • flashlight
  • two screwdriver sets: I have one with a huge selection of standard size bits, and a second with smaller bits. For computers specifically you'll mostly need Phillips and Torx
  • a selection of spudgers - a dollar store pencil case is great for carrying them
  • 90w universal laptop power supply
  • internal-HD-to-USB setup (both PATA and SATA connectors)
  • WRT54G for wireless for fixers
  • a couple Ethernet cables
  • paper for writing notes
  • loupes or magnifiers
  • alcohol (99% - the 70% stuff has additives and leaves a residue) and Q-tips for cleaning
  • compressed air - for blowing dust out of fans and cooling fins
  • spare mouse

Low priority:

  • multi-tool
  • misc computer nuts and bolts
  • spare keyboard (preferably PS2, with PS2-to-USB converter)
  • portable LCD screen

People generally bring us laptops these days, but those that do bring desktops often fail to bring their screen, keyboard, or mouse. As most of us travel to wherever the Repair Café is by public transit (or occasionally on a bike), bringing a keyboard and screen is a significant burden. I take them when I can get a ride in a car. If we don't have them (sometimes we borrow them from another visitor!), we have to send the person home to get them ...

See Also: Windows Software for Repair Café