I bought a new computer, what do I do now?
A Stress-Free 5-Step Guide to Getting a New Computer Up and Going
You have just bought a new computer and are, no doubt, looking forward to the benefits: the increased speed, the larger hard drive, and many other things.
You unpack the boxes and anxiously connect everything to the new computer. You turn on the computer for the first time. The computer is now running and you have gone through the initial setup phase, which usually involves system registration and other setup tasks. Then you begin getting that anxious, uneasy feeling – what do I do now?
I know this can be an uncomfortable time for many individuals. The following is a list of key steps that not only provides a guide to getting your new computer up and running with your programs and information installed on the computer, but also reduces the fear, stress, and anxiety of the entire computer changeover process because you will have a clearly defined process with a beginning and an end.
I have listed below the recommended steps to safely perform a computer changeover. I also recommend that these steps be done in this order because later steps may require that previous steps were completed successfully.
- Create restore disks
Creating restore disks is the first, and possibly the most important step in the changeover process. The restore disks can be used to revert your computer back to the state it was in when it left the factory.
This means that all the software that was on the computer would be put back; any software or data you had installed or copied on the computer would be completely gone and you would have to replace or reinstall it.
With many different computer manufacturers you are unable to use the computer until you have created the restore disks. Please note: Only one set of restore disks can be created for a computer.
2. Remove unwanted software
When you purchase a new computer you will trial versions of many popular software programs installed. This can include programs such as Microsoft Office, games, graphics software, and the list goes on.
The trial software installed on your new computer is there to allow you to test and see if it would be useful for you. For the most part the programs will require you to pay for them if you wish to continue using them, or obtain full functionality of the program. (All parts of the program work after the trial.)
The reason you want to remove the trial software is to not only create more free space on your hard drive for you to use, it will also eliminate many future messages about purchasing the software later on as you are using the computer.
3. Register the new computer
This step involves simply entering information such as your name, address, phone number, e-mail and other details to the computer’s manufacturer. You may be asked whether you want to be notified of sales by e-mail when available – this is completely your decision. You may also be able to choose whether you want to register or not.
I recommend registering your computer because it may have an effect on the warranty time period available for your computer (computers often sit in stores for quite a while).
4. Install antivirus software, other software and data
Now that you have finished the majority of the computer set up, you are ready to install your antivirus software, and any other software and data backed up from your old computer.
Please be sure to install your antivirus software before attempting to connect to the Internet. This will prevent your new computer from becoming infected with viruses or other unwanted bugs. You may, however, have to connect to the Internet for a brief time during the registration process.
5. Create a backup of your new computer
Once you have your new computer up and running with the programs and data, it is time to create a backup of the computer so if you have any problems you will be able to restore the computer to this state quickly and easily.
I recommend using software specifically designed to create computer backups for this along with an external hard drive to store your backups on. With the combination of software and the external hard drive you will be able to create computer backups on a regular basis as you continue to use this computer.
You may be wondering why I recommend using the separate program to create the backups for your new computer, as well as advising the use of an external hard drive to store the backups. I realize it is adding extra cost after you just purchased a computer.
The main reasons I am suggesting this procedure include:
- Most programs specifically designed for backup give you increased flexibility in what you backup
- You may back up your entire computer, a particular hard drive, or only certain files.
- You have the ability to automate the backup process – once set up the backup will run automatically without user intervention as long as the computer and hard drive are turned on.
- Using an external hard drive allows you to create the backups and then disconnect the external hard drive from your computer and store it elsewhere for safe keeping and provides peace of mind that you can recover from a major system failure should the need arise.
There are many different backup programs available – the one I use is called Aronis True Image. The key is to find the program that best suits your needs.
In terms of selecting an external hard drive I suggest getting an external hard drive large enough to hold several complete computer system backups so that you’re not always deleting old files to make room for new ones.
For example if your new computer has a 500 GB hard drive, I would get an external hard drive 750 GB to 1 TB in size to allow you to save multiple backup files on the hard drive before it is full. This will allow you to restore files from as far back as 3 to 4 weeks assuming you do a backup on a weekly basis.
Getting a new computer is exciting and yet can be somewhat scary when you think of all the work that has to be done to get the computer ready for you to use on a day-to-day basis.
By utilizing the simple five steps, I hope you will have a guide to follow that will alleviate the stress and frustration during the computer changeover process.
Time and care taken now will enhance your computing experience for a long time to come. Enjoy your new computer.
Do you have any questions? Ask in the comment section below.