Be Your Own Geek Squad: 10 Tools for Tech Emergencies

Be Your Own Geek Squad: 10 Tools for Tech Emergencies

Ambika Subramony
Sep 10, 2012

While you can't prepare for everything, there are some tech tools worth having around--even for the smaller emergencies, like when the batteries on your wireless mouse finally stop working. If you're part of a technologically inclined household, it's worth making a kit in advance that contains the following 10 tools.

1. Torx Screwdriver Set

A set of Torx screwdrivers, or even tiny Philips head screwdrivers, is really handy to keep around if you ever need to take apart your computer--for instance, if something stops working or gets water damaged. You can pick up a set like this at Home Depot for about $6.50. This particular set is especially handy if you own an Apple laptop.

2. Recovery Disc For Your OS

Always keep a recovery disc of OS X or Windows around to restore your computer to its factory state in case a virus attacks your data, or things start malfunctioning. In most cases your computer came with one, so it's just a matter of remembering where you put it.

3. LED Flashlight

When the power goes out, an LED flashlight is a powerful light source to find your way around. It doesn't have to be the world's brightest LED flashlight (like the one pictured)--just a basic one will do. They're also handy when you're something goes wrong with your tech and you need to look in the back at the devices wiring.

4. Backup Batteries

Having backup batteries for your various devices is pretty much a no-brainer. Be sure to keep a full stock of AAs, AAAs, and 9-volt batteries for everything from wireless peripherals and TV remotes to your fire alarm.

5. Ethernet Cable

If you're like me, you never run an ethernet cable to any of your computers because you prefer going wireless. But, if your wireless router goes out, always have an ethernet cable lying around just in case you need to connect your computer directly to your modem.

6. Surge protector

A surge protector is a great way to create more sockets to plug in your devices, but it also does what you'd expect--protect your devices from electrical surges. Be sure to use one with your important electronics. They also make it easy to turn off multiple devices with one switch, to save power.

7. Thumb Drive

I usually transfer files wirelessly, but in a pinch it's good to have a thumb drive around in case you need to transfer an important document. The larger the capacity, the better.

8. Paperclip

Ever needed to reset a router or eject a sim card, and not had anything thin enough to push the button? With most devices, a paperclip will do the trick. Be sure to stash one in your emergency kit.

9. Backup Peripherals

It's always a good idea to have backups of the most basic peripherals, like your keyboard and mouse. You never know when you might spill a cup of coffee all over your keyboard, rendering your entire computer useless.Your backups don't have to be fancy--they just have to work.

10. Battery Backup

Battery backups aren't terribly cheap (this one from Office Depot will set you back $75.99), but they can be a lifesaver if you're using desktop computer. Plug your stationary devices into one, and it'll not only protect them from power surges, but in the event of a power outage it will also provide battery power for a certain amount of time. So, even if your power goes out, you can continue to use your internet connection and desktop computer for sometime.

What are the tools you most often reach for tech? Let us know in the comments!

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