Wondering how to set up a new desktop computer or laptop? Just bought yourself a new laptop or desktop PC? Nice! But hold your horses—before you start using it, there are a few things to do when you get a new laptop or desktop, to make sure that it’s kept safe and that it continues to do the things and perform the way you need it to over the medium- to long-term. (Of course, these tips also apply if you have an older unit, so if you haven’t done the needful yet, read on!)
The first thing to do is to connect your PC or laptop to the internet if you haven’t yet. Open the settings, link to the right router, and enter the password and save it. Make sure you have a viable internet connection (with load and a data connection if you have a prepaid connection). You’re going to be downloading software and a few apps.
Up next, check for updates to your machine’s operating software. Even though it might be new out of the box, both Microsoft and Apple continually update their operating systems to confer new features and zap bugs and security issues. Depending on your machine and the OS it runs, there are different ways to go about this—we advise you to check your machine and manual to find out if you aren’t aware of how to go about it. Be advised that although this procedure may take just a few minutes, it may conversely take more time depending on the size of the update, the speed of your connection, and so on. Your machine may also restart more than once as part of this process; just be prepared for that if it happens.
When that’s done, it’ll be time for you to install antivirus protection—especially important for Windows users. It may be best not to go with the preinstalled trial security apps because they don’t always last for very long and the constant reminders to update them can be irritating. Windows, after all, already does come with Defender Antivirus that’s already also activated by default. On that note, your next step will be to uninstall bloatware, which is the trial versions of various preinstalled software that—just as we told you about in the previous paragraph—can just prove to be an irritation (and can also take up precious hard disk space). You can uninstall them using the OS’s built-in removal tools.
What to do next? Your next task involves personalizing your device. Set up your user accounts—a main or admin account for yourself and other accounts for other people, and if possible password-lock each of them. If your new unit is a macOS device you’ll need to sign in to your iCloud account. If one or more user is a child, set up parental controls too to prevent them from going beyond bounds with your device. If your device supports it, set up Touch ID for macOS or Windows Hello for fingerprint and/or facial recognition, so you don’t have to type in a regular password all the time. (You’ll still need to register a password for backup purposes, though, of course.)
And then you can begin to copy or sync your files from another device into your new one. If you have an external hard disk, you can move the files manually (copy from the old unit to the HDD and save them in the new machine) but this can be quite tedious especially if you have a ton of files to move. The cloud to the rescue—you can use iCloud instead for Apple users or OneDrive Sync if you’re a Windows user, or you can use a third-party cloud solution like Dropbox or Google Drive. Save your files in your Dropbox or Google Drive account and then just download them into the new device.
Lastly, once all this is done, you can begin to download your apps of choice and log in to them. Whether browsers or email clients or non-work apps, this will be the finishing touch to your setup procedure.
There you have it! Follow this routine to ensure that your new (or “new”, as the case may be) PC or laptop is both fully protected and functional! Read more about our recommendations for the best laptop brands for work.