Buying a new PC is always an exciting prospect. Lifting it out of its box and wondering what it’s going to be like when you turn it on for the first time is thrilling, but it can be equally daunting; after all, a PC essentially offers limitless possibilities, so what exactly should you do first? Well, there are a number of things you should probably do when it comes to a PC’s initial startup process, and while it’s much, much easier to set up a new computer than it used to be, it can still be tough to know where to start. Here’s what you should do when you get yourself a new PC.
Set up your preferred web browser
Browsing the web is pretty much the dominant activity on computers right now (as well as gaming), so it’s important to make sure you’ve got the browser you want. A good browser will help you do everything from applying for personal loans all the way through to getting your shopping and talking to your friends, so getting this right is paramount. If you’ve got a Windows PC, it comes pre-installed with Microsoft Edge, and the new Edge is leagues better than it used to be, so this might be the only option you need. However, the most popular browser on the market right now is Google Chrome, so give that a try too.
Get rid of bloat
If you’ve bought a laptop, then it might be plagued with something called bloatware, which refers to software that manufacturers often bundle with their devices in order to save on development costs. Identifying bloatware can be difficult, so try searching for the names of the programs that came pre-installed with your laptop; if they’re bloatware, they’ll likely show up as such in your search. Uninstall any programs you know you’re not going to use. Doing so can seriously help your system’s startup process, making it speedier and more responsive. Plus, bloatware takes up hard drive space you might need for something else!
Grab some antivirus and malware protection
If you’re going to be regularly surfing the web, then you’re going to need robust antivirus and malware protection. For malware, your one-stop shop is Malwarebytes; it’s the best free anti-malware program available on the internet right now. Antivirus software is a little more complex. Windows Defender should suffice for most light browsing tasks, but if you’re going to be visiting any sites with a frisson of danger to them, then you’re going to want something a bit more resilient. Avast or AVG are strong options, as is BitDefender, so pick the one that has the best interface for you and make sure to install it before you start browsing in earnest.
Download some essentials
Your needs are going to be different to those of others, but at the very least, your PC should have some basic image editing software, an office software suite, and a chat client like Skype. These are usually the basics that most PC or laptop users require. For image editing, we’d recommend GIMP; it can be a little tricky to learn to use, but once you’ve got its controls down, you’ll wonder how you ever used anything else. Office software suites are widely available, but we’d recommend using LibreOffice, which is probably still the best of the bunch despite some stiff competition. Only you can know what software is essential to you, though.
Connect all of your peripherals
If you have a laptop, this is less essential, because most of the peripherals are already connected to the device. However, it’s still a critical step, because you might need to connect things like external USB storage or other USB devices you need for working. A desktop PC, however, usually doesn’t come with peripherals already connected, so make sure that you’ve hooked up your keyboard, your mouse, and any other stuff you need like a webcam or an Ethernet cable to connect to the internet. Of course, most PCs nowadays won’t let you go through the startup process unless you connect these things, so you don’t really have a choice!
Recycle your old machine
Once you’re convinced that your new machine is everything you want it to be and you know you’re not going to be getting rid of it anytime soon, it’s time to recycle your old computer. There are a number of ways you can do this. If you think your tech is still worth something, then you should try websites that allow you to sell your stuff; even if you don’t get much for it, getting a return on your investment, however small, is worth it. Alternatively, you could simply try to recycle the devices responsibly if they no longer work or if you know you’re not going to get any extra use out of them. You might even want to ask friends and family if they want the things you no longer need!
Run Windows Update
Depending on when you bought your PC – assuming it’s a Windows PC, of course – it may need to download some critical updates. These updates can range from minor, inconsequential UI changes all the way through to essential security changes that could have a huge impact on your machine, so it’s always worth running Windows Update to ensure that you’ve got everything up to date. Windows will often prompt you when it’s time to install important updates, but this isn’t always the case. You can manually find Windows Update simply by searching for it within the Windows start bar, so it’s easy to apply updates.