Getting Comfortable With The Basics

Create USB Repair Kit to Solve Computer Problems    Keyring tools

Using Rufus to burn ISO files

With a set of USB drives filled with useful PC repair and maintenance programs, along with some bootable troubleshooting utilities, you’ll be ready for almost any problem.

Any USB drive should work for this; you can fit most of the portable apps below on one single flash drive. A few of the tools require a dedicated drive that you can boot from; this allows you to solve problems on computers that won’t even turn on.

I suggest you use a USB 3.0 drive for faster operation on computers with USB 3.0 support.

The Tools

Here are the tools we recommend for your repair kit, and what they do. Download them to your PC, and you’ll move them to USB drives later.

  1. Google Chrome Portable: A modified version of Chrome that launches from any folder, updated with the latest stable release from Google.
  2. Revo Uninstaller: Is a Fast method for uninstalling applications, like the bloatware and useful extras, that can uninstall programs just by pointing at their window. It can also clean up leftover directories in places like the main programs folder and the startup menu.
  3. Avira Rescue System: a self-booting tool that can clean viruses, malware. Require a dedicated USB drive, be sure to update it periodically.  Instructions for creating the rescue drive are in the link.
  4. CrystalDiskInfo: A tool for checking the health of hard drives. 
  5. Speccy: See all the technical specifications of a computer.
  6. Process Explorer: Helps you identify running legal processes and also malware and other bad stuff.
  7. AdwCleaner: A tool that seeks out and destroys adware. It's a self-contained executable you launch from a USB drive.
  8. Peerblock: Use it to create a firewall, selectively blocking incoming and outgoing traffic.
  9. MBRtool: This is a bootable tool that requires a dedicated flash drive, use it to repair the master boot record.
  10. HWMonitor: Inspect all kinds of hardware and settings that aren’t usually visible in Windows, like temperature and fan sensors on the motherboard.
  11. Wireless Network Watcher: Show you all of the devices connected to your local network, their IP addresses, and MAC addresses.
  12. WinDirStat: A disk analyzer and cleaner, used for quickly finding big and unneeded files to free up space. 
  13. A more graphical layout, SpaceSniffer is an excellent alternative or addition to WinDirStat.
  14. NirSoft password recovery tools: A collection of programs to recover usernames and passwords if no easy recovery option is available. This group of tools works on web browsers, wireless networks, even remote desktop tools.
  15. Hiren’s Boot CD: an all-in-one package that includes a lot of tools for repairing and optimizing computers, all contained in a self-booting CD file. It can also run from a dedicated USB drive as well.
  16. ProduKey: Helps find Windows and other registration keys, in case you’re unable to verify the legitimate computer's copy of the key. It’s an all-in-one application, using its advanced functions requires command features.
  17. ShellExView: for cleaning the Windows right-click menu after you’ve gotten rid of the programs.
  18. BlueScreenView: this tool will show you the results and minidump files behind the machines blue screen (of death) crashes.
  19. Windows Defender Offline: The Microsoft Windows Defender Offline is a free utility built into Windows 10. Windows Defender Offline is a powerful offline scanning tool that runs from a trusted environment, without starting your operating system.
    • When should I use Windows Defender Offline? Run Windows Defender Offline if:
      • Windows Defender Security Center detects rootkits or other highly persistent malware on your PC and alerts you to use Windows Defender Offline. You might see a message saying that malware was found on your device, or a message in Windows Defender Security Center notifying you that additional cleaning is required.
      • You suspect your PC has malware that might be hiding on your PC, but your security software doesn’t detect anything. In this case, you can start a Windows Defender Offline scan from Windows Security settings. Here's how:
        1. Select the Start  button, then select Settings  > Update & Security  > Windows Security  > Virus & threat protection .
        2. On the Virus & threat protection screen, under Threat history, select Run a new advanced scan.
        3. On the Advanced scans screen, select Windows Defender Offline scan, and then select Scan now.
  20. * Microsoft Safety Scanner: The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It works with your existing antivirus software. The Microsoft Safety Scanner is not a replacement for using an antivirus software program that provides ongoing protection.
    • Note:  The Microsoft Safety Scanner expires ten days after being downloaded. To rerun a scan with the latest anti-malware definitions, download and rerun the Microsoft Safety Scanner.
  21. You can create a USB recovery drive as described in this article from within Windows. If you frequently find yourself repairing someone’s PC, it might be a good idea to create a recovery drive once you’ve fixed their problem and gotten the computer into a working state. A Windows recovery drive requires a separate USB flash drive. 

Create Bootable Drives (Items with a star "*" 3, 9, 15, 20, and 21 require a dedicated drive that's bootable)

Plug in your big flash drive and copy all the portable tools you downloaded to it, organized into folders, many of these tools may create additional files when started up.

There are a few tools on that list that require dedicated flash drives.

MBRTool comes as an installer, so you’ll need to install it on your PC, then use the newly-installed app to create the bootable flash drive.

To burn Hiren’s Boot CD and the Avira Rescue System onto flash drives, you’ll need to first download their ISO files before using Rufus to create the bootable drive. 

Using Rufus to "burn” ISO files onto a bootable flash drive. If you need some help use the guide on the How-T0-Geek site.

  • Note: Rufus says it’s for use with Linux distributions, but it will create a bootable flash drive from about any ISO file you have.

To create a Windows Recovery Drive, follow these instructions also found on the How-To-Geek web site.







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