Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Getting A New Computer, Part 2: Things You Must Do Before Starting To Use It


Sent to you by Chris Hunter via Google Reader:


via MakeUseOf by Aaron Couch on 3/12/13

getting a new computerThe first thing you probably want to do when getting a new computer is jump right into using it. But hold on! There are some things that you must do and take care of before you get to that point. In this article, the second in the Getting A New Computer series, we will cover the first things you must do before starting to use your new computer for those everyday tasks.

In the first one we discussed how to have a seamless transition into your new computer. Some of the things mentioned in that article should technically be done after the things in this article. This was actually prefaced in that article as well with the following note:

NOTE: Different sections in each of these articles will somewhat overlap. The articles are not intended to be followed in order from first to last. However, they are published in order of importance.

Wait! Don't Hit That Power Button – Charge Up First

getting a new computer

It is important to make sure your laptop battery has a full charge before starting. Some laptops have an indicator light whenever it's fully charged, but with others you might have to ballpark it. These days, brand new laptops might only take 15-20 minutes to fully charge but in general you should allow for a few hours of charging before starting up your laptop for the first time.

Obviously if you have a desktop you can completely skip this step.

Create A System Repair Disk

Although there is a tutorial by Microsoft on how to do this, creating a system repair disk is easy and quick. Go to the Start Menu, type in "backup" and click "Backup and Restore." In the panel on the left side, you should see "Create a system repair disc." Click that and follow the prompts.

starting up a new computer

Set Up A Scheduled Backup Routine

While you're in the "Backup and Restore" window, create a scheduled backup to an external hard drive or another form of media while you're at it. Just remember to have the two devices connected around the time of the scheduled backup.

starting up a new computer

Review Power Saving Settings

The right power settings, whether on a laptop or desktop, are good to have and familiarize yourself with. If you have a laptop, you can easily access these from the battery icon in the system tray. However, no matter what kind you have, you can access them by simply typing "Power Options" in the Start Menu search bar.

starting up a new computer

Get System Updates

starting a new computer

These will likely happen automatically. But if you're prompted to do them, follow through – don't just ignore them. This is a huge tech pet peeve of mine and it's hard for me to understand why users don't just listen to Microsoft. 99.9% of the time (percentage guessed) you're not going to have a problem with an update.

Uninstall Bloatware

What is bloatware (also known as crapware)? It's basically software which is preloaded on a new computer or included in programs that you download and install. Most of the time it's not dangerous (especially if it was put on by the manufacturer), but it can just be a nuisance. Whether a program falls into one of these slightly depends upon the users, so it's subjective. But an example might be Norton or McAfee or some DVD playing program.

Removing this stuff is definitely a good thing to do as it frees up valuable space and just cleans up your nice new computer a bit. But does require some caution as well – you certainly don't want to go removing programs that you don't know about. So, when in doubt leave it or better yet, research it online to find out more about that program.

We've asked you what your solutions are for bloatware (or crapware) and you've told usRevo Uninstaller is a superb program for this as well as PC Decrapifier and Geek Uninstaller.

Create A Windows Restore Point

Windows System Restore is another very easy-to-do task that only takes a few minutes. To get started, type in "System Restore" in the Windows Start Menu.

starting a new computer

Once opened, simply follow the prompts to create your system restore point. In the future, you should also always create a restore point when prompted to by a program or your computer. Often they will be made without your knowledge, which is nice when that happens, but it's always good to make sure that you have a recent one available.

You can do this by setting up a schedule, which Ryan covers in his article How To Make Sure Windows System Restore Works When You Need It.

Run Your First Backup

Once all of that is in place, make a backup. If you haven't installed your programs yet (which we'll cover in a later article), I recommend just using an external hard drive. You should have already used it to set up the scheduled backup routine so just go ahead and run that for the first time.

starting a new computer

For information on the easiest way to bring your files over, check out the section titled "Moving Your Existing Files Over To Your New Computer" in the first article of this series.

In addition, an excellent way to make use of that old computer if it's still running, is to use it for storage as well. So don't forget about that!

Lose Those Bad Habits!

getting a new computer

You can start using your computer now. But you should really not bring your bad habits along with you. Of course it's natural at first to be careful, but after a while it's easy to fall back into the same ruts that you had with your previous computer. Ruts like eating at your computer, or storing (if it's a desktop) or using it in low ventilation areas, like on your bed with blankets or "stuffing" the tower in a cabinet under your desk. Of course there are many others, so just be aware preferably while your using your old computer (unless you've already made the transition) of your bad habits. It's never too late to change them.


Now that you've done all of these you can finally get started downloading programs on your computer and enjoying things like customizing the desktop, which was mentioned in the first article. Do have any more "new computer rituals" that you do before you dive into using your brand new machine? If so, share them with is in the comments below!

The post Getting A New Computer, Part 2: Things You Must Do Before Starting To Use It appeared first on MakeUseOf.


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