The First 5 Things You Should Do With Your New Computer

Don't Forget These Important First Steps After Getting a New PC

Photo of a Microsoft Surface Book
Microsoft Surface Book. © Microsoft

Were you lucky enough to pick up a new computer recently?

If so, Congratulations!

No matter if it's a snazzy new Microsoft Surface Book (pictured), some other Windows 10 laptop, or a traditional desktop computer, here are the first five things you need to do:

Update Your Antimalware Program

The last thing you want to do is get your brand new computer infected with malware. Who wants that?

I thought about calling this "install an antimalware program" but almost all computers come with one preinstalled.

Windows 10 comes with Microsoft's own tool built-in so most PCs are ready to go.

Here's the thing, though: it won't be updated. Probably not, anyway. So, after setting it up, head to the scanner's settings and update the "definitions" - the instructions that teach the program how to identify and remove new viruses, Trojans, worms, etc.

Tip: Like I mentioned above, new Windows computers this year will have basic antivirus protection, but it's not the best. See this list of free antivirus programs for lots of great choices.

Install Available Windows Updates

Yes, I know, you'd think your brand new computer would be fully updated but chances are it won't be.

Microsoft releases security and non-security updates to Windows on at least a monthly basis, often times more frequently than that!

See How to Install Windows Updates if you've never done this and need help.

Tip: The Windows Update tool is preconfigured to download and install updates automatically.

While this is generally a good thing, it can be a bit overwhelming of a thing to happen in the background during the first few hours of using your new computer. See How Do I Change Windows Update Settings? for help changing those automatic settings, which I usually recommend that people do.

Install a File Recovery Program

This one might surprise you.

Why install a program to help recover accidentally deleted files if you haven't even used your computer yet, let alone lost something?

Here's why: The big catch-22 about file recovery programs is that you often have to install one before you can use it, a process which could permanently overwrite the area on the hard drive where your deleted file is sitting. That's not a risk you want to take.

See my Free File Recovery Software Programs list for a number of excellent and completely free undelete tools. Just install one and forget it. If you need it in the future, it'll be there.

Sign Up for an Online Backup Service

Yep, another proactive step here, one you'll be thanking me for someday.

Online backup services are combination software tools and subscription services that automatically keep what data you want protected on secure servers away from your home or business.

In my opinion, an online backup service is the best and most cost effective long term solution to keeping your data safe.

See my Online Backup Services Reviewed for a list of my favorite services.

The better rated ones in my list are inexpensive, let you back up as much as you want, and are really easy to download and install.

Uninstall Programs You Don't Want

You may already have noticed that your computer came with a lot of... well, let's just say "extra" software.

In theory, leaving these programs installed won't hurt much if anything, aside from taking up a bit of hard drive space. In reality, many of these preinstalled programs run in the background, hogging up memory and processor power that you'd rather use for other things.

My advice? Head in to Control Panel and get those programs removed.

An easier option, if you'd like, is to use a dedicated program for just this purpose. They're called uninstallers and I've reviewed a number of them. See my Free Uninstaller Software Tools list for all of my favorites.

One of those tools is even called PC Decrapifier. I'll let you guess why.

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