Idiots Guide: What you should do as soon as you buy a new Laptop or Computer
Install an Antivirus programme
This is the most important step in my opinion. Even if you have a brand new, shiny PC, it's only fully protected with antivirus software.
There is no need to buy antivirus software. As long as your PC is running Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 then almost any free solution will do. I can't recommend any particular AV solution, but I do recommend you consider the following:
- BitDefender - my favourite because it's quick to download, doesn't use a lot of memory and doesn't bug you - free edition
- Avast - free edition
- AVG - free edition
Never run two AV programs at the same time - it can cause problems and make your computer run slowly.
Invest in a decent case/bag
If your buying a laptop and intend to take it anywhere outside of your home, you should invest in a laptop bag or case.This will help keep your laptop free of scratches, away from damp and offer some protection should you drop it.
I prefer a case as it's more rigid and offers better protection than a bag. There are loads of different options but if you're looking for something really strong have a look at the Omnitronic range of hard laptop cases.
However, if you prefer something less hard looking but still strong have a look at the 4World range.
Looking for Microsoft Office but don't want to pay? There are FREE equivalents available
Although Microsoft offer some good deals on Office now (which includes free Cloud storage) there are still free equivalents available.
Probably the most popular is Apache Open Office. It provides a full suite of applications which are similar to Word, Excel, etc., completely free of charge. What's more, Open Office is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Office.
Update to the latest version of Windows
Keeping your computer's Operating System (e.g. Windows) up-to-date is an important part of ensuring that your computer is safe and secure.
Modern versions of Microsoft Windows will automatically update as and when an update is available. Unless you are an advanced user never switch this feature off.
Password protect your computer
Password protecting your computer means that you add another layer of security to protect your important files and documents.
You will usually be prompted to set up a password when you start your new computer for the first time. However, if for some reason you weren't, you can check our Microsoft's instructions on how to password protect your computer here.
You can also also set up new 'users' from the Control Panel. This allows individual users to have their own 'area' on your PC which they can store their own files and customise their own experience. This is perfect for families.
Many new computers come with unnecessary programs called 'Bloatware'. This are applications which you may never use but which slow down your computer by using system resources.
You should only uninstall these applications if you know what you're doing, as you might uninstall something important. If in doubt, skip this step.
For more information on Bloatware, have a look at PC World's blog.
Back-up your files to the cloud FOR FREE
Cloud storage is becoming increasingly common. For those who don't understand, the 'Cloud' is basically an area on a server somewhere outside of your home network where you files are stored. It allows you to keep copies of important documents backed up somewhere else where they are safe and secure.
The benefits of cloud storage include:
- keeping important documents elsewhere than just your computer, which means you can retrieve them if your computer is ever stolen
- backs up your files so that you can retrieve them in the event of a system failure or fire
- in some cases allows you to synchronise files between more than one PC, such as your work and home computers
- allows your to share files with family and friends without the need of a webserver
There are many options available (and Office 365 comes with a whopping 1TB of Cloud storage included with OneDrive) but you can also get 2GB of free storage with Dropbox.
Check out my guide on why you should avoid buying a cheap laptop for more information.
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