In this first part of the ultimate guide to get started with your brand new Windows PC, you’ll find everything you need to know and do to configure and start your Windows experience the right way. You are going to learn which antivirus you should be using, how to configure and keep Windows up to date, and how to create the system recovery discs necessary to reset your PC to factory default (very important).
In the second part, I’ll continue listing great free software that you should be using, more Windows tips in maintenance and finally you are going to learn how to create a full computer backup to protect all your hard work you put to configure Windows and to protect your precious data.
Here is the deal, you are a proud owner of a new Windows PC, and highly likely it is running Windows 7. You start the system for the first time and now what? While you can start using your system right away, I wouldn’t recommend you do so until you configure, tweak and remove unwanted software, and install the right applications to get the most out of your new Windows PC.
To begin configuring Windows to suit your needs, the first thing you should do is to make sure that it’s running a good antivirus. If you just bought a brand new computer, you should have an antivirus, like Norton or another paid brand of antivirus already running on your system. Although, these security solutions are good, the ones that come preinstalled in your system are more than likely to be “trials” and after an X number days, you’ll have to make the decision to buy a license or look for an alternative. If this is your case, like for most people, I would recommend you to go for a free alternative, and these days there are many of them, plus they are more than enough of what you need. Microsoft Security Essentials is the first I would recommend using; this is a great solution for antivirus and covers all of your basics. It is FREE, easy to install and manage, it has frequent updates, and it doesn’t slow down your system. Another great free alternative would be AVG Free Antivirus, this is also an easy to install and use, and virus definition are updated often. So, now that you are protected against most type of Malware, hackers and from that infected USB drive that your friend just brought; let’s continue.
Note: Microsoft is already planning on upgrading Security Essentials and it is accepting beta testers, so if you want the latest and greatest you can sign up to test the new antivirus before anyone else — Sign up to beta test the new version Microsoft Security Essentials. Important: If you are about to install a new antivirus software, I would highly recommend you to uninstall any antivirus that you may be currently running first, reboot the computer and then install the new antivirus. This will prevent many problems during the installation process, besides you shouldn’t have more than one antivirus running at the same time.
Following the installation and configuration of an antivirus solution, you should configure and update Windows to patch any vulnerability. This will help to stay protected from inside and outside threats and updates will also help with performance and stability of the operating system. To do this I would recommend you to visit this article: Why should I care about Windows Update.
Remove unwanted software from your new Windows PC
As you may have noticed from past purchases of either laptop and desktop PCs is that manufactures like to install a lot of bloatware (trial and free applications) that you never are going use and they just slow down your system. Really annoying, right? First, you should know that these “trials” or freeware are not part of the operating system and second, you are encouraged to remove/uninstall them, you can do this in various ways, check How to remove unwanted software from your new Windows PC [Bonus], here you’ll find best practices and free software recommendations to help you remove those annoying unwanted software from your new Windows PC.
As technology evolves, so do the techniques to simplify and cut cost, this is the case for most PC manufactures (HP, DELL, Gateway, Acer, Lenovo, etc.) that no longer provide the operating system or rescue discs in the box when you buy a new Windows system. So it is important that you create your system recovery discs in case you experience a hard drive failure ASAP!
Here is a list of resources where you can find the step-by-step instructions on how to create your system recovery discs from majors PC manufactures:
- HP: How to create system recovery discs — Windows 7
- DELL: How to create system recovery discs — Windows 7
- Lenovo: How to create system recovery discs — Windows 7
- Gateway: How to create system recovery discs — Windows 7
- Acer: How to create system recovery discs — Windows 7
Although all PC manufactures have different tools to create system recovery discs, the process is similar across all of them. So watching this video series on how to use the Acer eRecovery Management will give you a glimpse on how to create yours:
Important: Just remember to keep these discs in a secure place, because PC manufacture only allow you create one set of system recovery discs.
- The ultimate guide to get started with your brand new Windows PC [Part 2]