Every service job a take shows me at least one more tool to bring to the next job.
Here is the list so far:
- Small tool kit (Screwdrivers, zip ties, etc...)
- Software Tools (On CD & USB Flash Drive)
- Live CD
Software tools was also obvious yet over time the make-up of this kit has changed. Many of the calls I get are to support older operating systems so it is important to have tools that work on them. I have found that some old computers have no CD-ROM and no USB drivers so I also carry a floppy disk with the drivers needed to get the flash drive working.
Most recently I have added many common installation files to a seperate CD. Things like AIM, YIM & MSN Messenger all of the Google Pack tools and many Windows updates. I added these to avoid having to take a computer with a dial-up connection home. (or having to wait hours on site for it to download updates.) I have found that many problems can be solved with a fresh install of the offending program.
If there is a cd drive and the operating system is toast, then a live CD is a must have. With most live Linux distros you can recover and back up the data on the computer before you reinstall the old operating system. You can additionally test most of the hardware and find failures that a dead system won't show. (Dead Systems Tell No Tales... ;-) )
Patience is probably the most important tool to bring to any job. If you are impatient, your client will be as well and that will never end well for you.