Setting up a new computer

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to avoiding illness in ourselves. Prevention in the computer world is no different. And like a newborn baby, a newly purchased computer is subject to many terrible diseases and problems if not properly cared from the moment it is taken from its cardboard box.

I follow these steps when setting up a new computer system for my clients, and recommend this methodology for all new computer setups:

  1. Before setting up the new computer, backup all of your data to CD’s, DVD’s, external hard drives, or flash drives for transfer to the new computer  Make sure you get not only your obvious data like documents, pictures, and financial data, but also your address book, email settings, favorites/bookmarks, etc. Remember, you can backup data, but not programs, so collect your installation CDs for programs you want to reinstall.
  2. Make note of your email settings and configuration (if you didn’t back them up).
  3. When setting up the new PC, DO NOT connect printers, scanners, cameras, and especially the Internet until later.
  4. Once at the new desktop, the first place to head is the Control Panel –> Programs and Features. Remove all trial software that you don’t plan on purchasing (Quicken, Quickbooks, Office suites, etc). Also remove any Internet provider software that you will not use like AOL, Earthlink, NetZero, etc.
  5. Now go back to Add/Remove programs and uninstall any trial security software that came with the machine.
  6. Now, you can hook up your Internet connection. Once you have a connection established, visit my tip on how to download and install Microsoft Security Essentials and follow those steps before continuing to Step 7.
  7. Setup your email program and accounts.
  8. Install your peripherals (scanners, printers, etc) per your manufacturers instructions (now that you are connected to the Internet, many older peripherals may automatically be installed by Windows 7.
  9. Install any programs that you want on the new system
  10. Transfer your data from their backup locations.
  11. Strongly consider downloading and using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome as your primary browser.
  12. Create your Recovery CD set found in your manufacturer’s options or utilities folder (if required).
  13. Enjoy your properly setup and safe, new computer!
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