9 Things to do before using a new computer

The first thing you want to do with a new computer is start using it right away. But we don’t recommend doing that. There are a few tasks you need to take care of before you start using your new PC.

The steps you take now can save you time and effort. In the long run, it will make your machine safer, faster and more ready for the future. Complete these Windows customizations before using your new computer.

Review the update settings

Microsoft releases periodic updates to Windows 10. Quality updates consist of bugs and security fixes. They are delivered at least once a month and once a week. Feature updates are important updates.

To avoid disruption, Microsoft has changed the release schedule so that the H1 version is a major update while the H2 version is a quality update. Windows Update is available in the Settings app . Go to Update & Security> Windows Update .

Click Change Active Hours to prevent Windows from automatically restarting your PC. View Update History classifies the updates installed on the system. If an update causes a problem, click Uninstall Updates and follow the dialog box.

In previous versions, you can defer both feature updates (up to one year) and quality updates (up to 30 days). Starting with Windows 10 version 2004, Microsoft removed the Choose when updates are installed option on the Advanced Options page . Regardless of the product edition, you can postpone updates for up to 35 days.

If you want to continue taking advantage of the deferrals, you can use Local Group Policy. You will find the policy settings in the Windows Update for Business folder . Double-click the policy and configure the schedule according to your needs.

When your device receives optional updates, you can manage it via View optional updates . This means that you no longer need to use Device Manager to check for driver updates.

2. Check the power plan

You need to pay close attention to power management settings to extend battery life and balance resource usage during a compute-intensive activity.

Open the Settings app and go to System> Power & Sleep . Set the idle time before the screen goes dark and the time before I go to sleep.

Click the Additional Power Settings link to open the Power Options page in the Control Panel. You can create a customized Windows power plan based on your needs .

If you’d like to refine it further, click Change advanced power settings . The options in this dialog box provide great granular control over power-related events. You can adapt them to your hardware and software needs.

3. Battery status and calibration

We are often less informed and less enthusiastic about the health of the laptop battery. When buying a new laptop, you need to monitor the battery status right from the start. Over time, the capacity of any battery decreases.

The battery stops holding a charge and shows fluctuating readings. An incorrect discharge estimate is also common. Periodic battery health monitoring will tell you when to calibrate the battery and take corrective measures.

Visit the laptop manufacturer’s website for details on the calibration procedure. If you’re just getting started, follow this guide to learn about some of the best third-party diagnostic tools for analyzing laptop battery health .

4. Rename your PC

The Windows default creates a meaningless name for the PC. While it may seem small, you’ll see your PC name in OneDrive, Microsoft services on the web, and elsewhere.

Press Windows key + X and choose System . From the Information page, click Rename this PC and type a name. Restart your computer.

5. Create a recovery drive

When your PC is having problems and won’t boot, a USB recovery drive can help you troubleshoot and fix such problems. The recovery drive boots your PC into a Windows recovery environment, which consists of many useful utilities.

To create a recovery drive, type “recovery” in the search box and choose the Recovery Drive app from the results pane. Make sure you select Backup system files to the recovery drive .

Once verified, you will be able to use Reset this PC and access the Windows RE tools from the drive. For best results, choose a 16GB USB drive.

6. Uninstall Bloatware and disable the annoyances

Bloatware is an app that comes pre-installed with your PC. They may include trial versions of antivirus, games, or even Microsoft Office. Pre-installed apps consume disk space and litter the Start menu. Here is our guide on how to easily remove bloatware in Windows 10 and use third-party uninstallers to remove bad apps.

Disable advertising in the Start menu : Go to Settings> Personalization> Start and disable Show suggestions occasionally on Start .

Lock screen ads : Sometimes, you may see Microsoft product ads via Windows Spotlight. Go to Settings> Personalization> Lock Screen and set the wallpaper to a picture or slideshow.

Taskbar pop-up : You may receive persistent notifications about product recommendations in disguise of Windows 10 tips. Go to Settings> System> Notifications & Actions and turn off Get tips, tricks and tips while using Windows .

Also, turn off the Show me Windows welcome experience after updates and on login option .

Advertise on File Explorer : You may see ads on File Explorer if you use the OneDrive free plan. Go to View> Options> Change Folder and Search Options . In the Folder Options window, go to the View tab and turn off Show Sync Provider Notifications .

7. Create a standard user account with password

When you set up Windows 10 for the first time, the installer creates a profile for the administrator account. With it, you can change system-wide settings, run all installed apps, install new hardware, and do pretty much anything on your computer.

Whether you are a beginner or a pro, we always recommend that you start with a standard user account. These limited accounts can run apps and change settings that don’t affect other users.

An administrator has the ability to add a user account. Go to Settings> Accounts> Family and other users . Click Add someone else to this PC .

Follow the steps and click Add a user without a Microsoft account . Specify a username and password. You will also be prompted to choose and answer three security questions. Finally, when prompted for the account type, choose Standard User .

8. Create a system restore point

The System Restore feature allows you to undo any recent changes to the hardware or software. It is useful when a recently updated driver, faulty device or app is causing problems.

Go to Settings > System> About . Click on System Protection and from the window that appears, make sure that the restore point for drive C: is active .

9. Configure Windows security

Many people ignore the Windows Security option setting before using a new computer. Starting with Windows 10 1809, all options have been moved to the Windows Security app . To configure, go to Update & Security> Windows Security .

Virus and threat protection

Under Virus & threat protection settings , select Manage settings. From here, you can configure basic Windows security settings, such as cloud-provided protection or automatic sending of real-time virus and malware block samples.

Ransomware protection

Click Manage Ransomware Protection to prevent suspicious apps from making changes to any files. Turn on Controlled folder access and click Protected folders to prevent unauthorized apps from accessing your folders.

App and browser control

You can manage the behavior of Windows when you download potentially dangerous apps from the web, encounter malicious websites, or configure how the Edge browser must act in unsecured situations (such as airport Wi-Fi) to protect data.

Built-in settings include SmartScreen for Edge, installed apps and files. In addition, the exploit protection feature protects your system from being compromised. Includes DEP, ASLR and SEHOP settings.

Device safety

Windows 10 comes with built-in virtualization-based security to prevent malicious code attacks.

10. Setting up the scheduled backup routine

No amount of maintenance warranty against hard drive failure or theft. Any potential catastrophe could endanger your computer and data. To keep your data safe, make regular backups. Here’s our ultimate guide on backups and best practices on hardware and software:

  • One or two external hard drives (minimum 1 TB) and decide whether to connect them to your PC (RAID) or to the network (NAS). You can partition the drive and use one for system backups and another for data.
  • Choose an app to automatically back up your data on a fixed schedule. Cloud storage services work best for synchronizing files, but for backup, consider Backblaze, Backblaze B2, Amazon S3, or Glacier.

11. Use Ninite to install more apps

Having to download, install and keep your apps updated is time-consuming and annoying. Ninite allows you to automatically install multiple apps in one go and save time. Check the apps you want and click the Get Your Ninite button .

Run the custom installer. The apps will be installed silently in the background with the default settings.

With Ninite Pro, you can apply patches and distribute apps right from your browser. Install the lightweight Ninite agent on your machines and get a real-time view with simple point and click management of your apps.

The best time to buy a new computer

Getting a new computer is an exciting time. While these tips may seem like a lot at first glance, it’s not difficult. Your PC will be safer, faster, and better equipped for your business.

It can be expensive to buy a new computer, so it makes sense to plan your purchase for when you can get a deal. While prices are always subject to change, you can get your favorite computer at a discount with these tips.

 

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