New PC? SIX Things You MUST Do Now

Category: Software

A new computer is something to get excited about. It’s tempting to open the box, plug it in, start it up, and just begin exploring. But a new computer requires some initial fine-tuning in order to optimize performance and avoid problems later on. Here are six things you should do to a new desktop or laptop PC as soon as it comes out of the box...

Optimize and Secure Your New PC

Job One is security. Antivirus software is a must on any PC, but the trial versions of Norton or McAfee that come preinstalled on new PCs are overpriced resource hogs. Some popular free antivirus options are AVG and Avast, but my preference is PC Matic, because it uses a whitelist approach that allows only known, trusted programs to run on your computer. Uninstall the trial antivirus that came with your PC, then install your new security software.

Step Two: Getting rid of bloatware. Bloatware (sometimes called crapware) is not malicious software. Rather, it's the term for all those unnecessary utilities and trial software packages that computer vendors are paid to load onto each new PC they ship. Many of these nuisances load automatically at startup, slowing your PC and annoying you with reminders to try them out. Essentially, they’re just advertisements that you pay to be annoyed by.

Six PC Optimization Tips

If you want to rid a brand-new system of all the unnecessary junk programs that came installed on it, try the free Bulk Crap Uninstaller utility. This program lets you see all the software installed on your system, so you can quickly select the ones you want to remove, and zap them in one swell foop, with minimal effort. It's a lot faster than the Windows "Add/Remove Software" option, which requires you to select each one and answer a lot of "do you really want to do this" questions.

Step 3: Keeping your operating system and application software up to date is also essential. Security patches are issued regularly by Microsoft, and these improvements are not really “optional.” Make sure Windows is set to download important updates automatically (it usually is on new PCs) and enable automatic updates on all application software that has such a feature.

You might be surprised to learn that some of the application software pre-loaded on your computer is outdated or needs critical security patches. See my article, Here's Why You Must Keep Your Software Updated (and how to do it for free) for links to some free utilities that will help you keep your software updated and secure.

Step 4: Taking inventory of your PC’s hardware and software can help you diagnose problems, get better tech support, and possibly even save you untold grief and piles of money. Belarc Advisor and Speccy are two free utilities that scan your system and report everything you may need to know. My article A Look INSIDE Your Computer (no tools required) gives you the scoop on where to find these programs, and details on how they can help.

Step 5: Making regular backups of user data and system settings is a good habit that starts from day one. As soon as your PC is tweaked the way you want it, make a full "system image" of your hard drive and store it in a safe place. Thereafter, automatic backups of critical data that changes over time can be set up on whatever schedule makes sense for you. Hard drive failure, viruses, fire, flood and human error can wipe out critical data, and if it happens to you a backup copy of your files will be a lifesaver.

And don't forget that not all your data is stored on your computer's hard drive. Do you have a plan to back up and recover your online data, including webmail, cloud storage, Facebook, Twitter, online photos and other social media? What about the contacts and other data stored on your mobile phone or tablet? My ebook Everything You Need to Know About BACKUPS will show you how to protect yourself from any kind of data disaster.

Step 6: Perform a benchmark test to confirm that your new computer runs as fast as advertised, and save the results so you can see if it's still running well in six months, a year, or two. You can use a free benchmarking tool to test the CPU performance, the speed of your hard drive, RAM memory, video hardware, and other subsystems. You'll also have the option to compare your results to others with similar hardware. See my article href="">How Fast Is Your CPU? Benchmark it! for links to some free benchmarking software.

That's my list of six things you should take care of when you get a new computer. But it's been said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. So a healthy dose of awareness and vigilance will go a long way toward keeping you and your computer free of trouble while interacting with the Internet. With that in mind, I encourage you to read these articles next:

A few hours spent up front tweaking a new PC and preparing for the future, can save days of suffering when something goes wrong, as it inevitably will. Think of all this preventative maintenance as similar to a car’s breaking-in period. Do it with every new PC and you'll save yourself time and money.

Do you have other ideas about how to optimize a new PC? Post your comment or question below...

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This article was posted by on 9 Sep 2022

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Most recent comments on "New PC? SIX Things You MUST Do Now"

Posted by:

Hugh Gautier
09 Sep 2022

I found an immediate problem with the Bulk Crap Uninstaller, no where does it say Windows 11. I wouldn't assume that just because it doesn't say Windows 11 that it would work, but just the opposite. I read the owner's description of this program, there is no mention of Windows 11, but it does go from Windows XP through Windows 10.
I also saw that they were unhappy when I have 3rd party cookies blocked as well as ads. Yes, I understand that the ads pay for them to be up, but they are also a nuisance to the users who don't want someone else tracking them. I have a BTDT memory of that having been done to me before, therefore, I do not allow 3rd party nor those ads onto my system.

Posted by:

09 Sep 2022

This seemed like a good list for Windows based computers - do you have a similar list for Apple products?

Posted by:

09 Sep 2022

I downloaded Bulk Crap Installer...thought it difficult to understand. Didn't show up on my Win 11 apps list when I tried to uninstall. I deleted the files that were unzipped, but don't know if there is any residual. Would not recommend.

Posted by:

10 Sep 2022

You left out "#7 install Linux on a second partition"


Posted by:

10 Sep 2022

The FIRST thing I do after purchasing any new or used computer is to completely install a fresh version of the operating system. The install, using the "Custom" method option (Custom method is an option shown during the install of Windows 7, 10, and 11) allows deleting all computer partitions prior to installation). I always delete all partitions and allow the installer to reinstall whatever is necessary. Thus all software that WAS on the computer is deleted and ONLY the OS remains at the end of the installation. I then install the applications and programs I WANT on the machine. I usually do this several times a year as I like upgrading to machines with better and faster processors, selling the older machines, getting most of my money back. I, at present, have and use 7 different machines in my house, all Windows 11 machines, all with Intel Processors, all processors ranging from 8th Generation to 11th Generation (all purchased used). I should note that I use "Patch My PC" to install much of my software. For any software not available on "Patch", I keep an installer on a USB Flash Drive and also on a Backup Portable Drive. Setting up a new (to me) computer does take about 4 hours, but it is worth it.

Posted by:

12 Sep 2022

I got a laugh out of #2 when I read "and zap them in one swell foop" :)

Posted by:

12 Sep 2022

Thank you for all that you do for us Bob Rankin,
Great recommendations all but I am not certain if the built-in Microsoft Defender security provisions really require additional AV-options which you mentioned...

Posted by:

22 Sep 2022

PC Matic:
I trusted their white list yet I got hit with an issue that would not go away.
PC Matic's response was to go to Malwarebytes to take care of it ... REALLY! Maybe because we bought a lifetime plan they felt we were not going to pay any more so they did not care.
It was actually Spybot that got rid of it, and searching the internet and learning to use reg edit.
Not what I was hoping for from PC Matic.

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