A laptop, desktop, or tablet makes a great Christmas gift! Congratulations if you were lucky enough to find one under your tree Christmas morning. By starting off on the right foot you can make the most of your new device, and keep your data safe. Here are a few steps to follow after you unwrap your new device to make your computing experience a pleasurable one.

Register and Update Windows

An important part of purchasing your computer is actually registering Windows. It enables all the perks of having Windows as an operating system, such as Windows Media Player, updates, and it also enables desktop personalization.

Then, you’ll want to download all system updates and service packs. You’ll want a speedy internet connection, because these can be huge files. However, they’re vital to making your computer safe and will help ensure your system runs smoothly. Updates patch software bugs and glitches that were recently discovered, and they can improve the performance of the operating system as well as add new features.

Remove Unwanted “Bloatware”

When you turn on a brand new computer, you’d assume that you’re starting with a clean slate. However, this couldn’t be much further from the truth. Most computers are loaded with unwanted games and software (referred to as bloatware). You’ll want to uninstall the offending software, by going to Start > Control Panel > Programs and Features. From here you can go to each program you don’t want and click uninstall. For programs that are more deeply rooted, like anti-virus software, you can go to the developers website and search for the “complete uninstall” procedure and follow their steps to completely eradicate it from your system. Or, we’re always available to give you a hand, and can remove bloatware, install software updates, along with securing your new device with anti-virus and firewall software.

Anti-virus and Security Software

While many computers come standard with anti-virus software, it’s important to make sure you have the right program to deal with potential intruders. You should seriously consider spending $40-80 for an all-encompassing anti-virus & firewall program, (here are 2017s best), or save some money and get basic protection, with something like Avast anti-virus.

Working together with anti-virus software, a malware scanner will protect your system from malicious websites and programs. Malware will make your computer run at a turtle’s pace. By running a security scan, you can remove all the unwanted unintentionally programs from your hard drive.
Remember to schedule a security scan once a week (you can set it to automatically begin when you want, in whatever increment you choose) to keep your computer free from malicious programs. You can also keep this software running in the background, and it will detect and quarantine any questionable and infected files that you may have just unintentionally downloaded and it will also warn you and deter you away from possibly unsafe sites.

Back Up Software and Recovery

Any computer with Windows will include system recovery tools. Windows Recovery restores your computer to a pre-existing state should the worst happen. If you drop your computer or it suddenly fails due to a power surge or something else, recovery will restore your system to a working state.

Backing up, on the other hand, is basically insurance for your data. You can select all of your important files, pictures, audio files and movies, and you can put them on an external hard drive, usb key or upload them to the cloud. If you only take one thing away from this blog post, please make it this: back up your data, back up your date, back up your data! We are always happy to discuss back up options, and can give you a hand configuring the solution that’s right for you and your new device.