Bill Detwiler: Out of the box, most new PCs need a little fine-tuning to optimize and protect them. While corporate IT shops often have standard hard drive images for this, home users are often stuck doing the job manually. And many aren't sure when they should do.
Well, I'm Bill Detwiler, and during this episode of TR Dojo, I'll share five tips from TechRepublic blogger Jack Wallen on setting up that new PC.
When the average user buys a new PC, it's nearly impossible for her hard to fight the urge to take it out of the box and immediately start loading your favorite programs and surfing the Internet.
But with a new PC often comes a lot of work to get it ready for use -- like installing or configure antimalware. Unfortunately users often neglect basic steps, or they just don't know about them.
If you are an IT consultant or work for a corporate shop, you should have this process down pat. But somewhere in between, however, lies the many users who can benefit from knowing what types of things to do when a new PC arrives.
That's where today's TR Dojo episode comes in. Send your novice users a link to this video and help them get off on the right foot.
So, the first thing to do with a new PC, especially if you bought it at a big-box store or ordered it from a retail outlet, is to remove all of the crapware that will no doubt come loaded on it already.
Most of it will never be used and it will only slow your system down by taking up space and resources.
Take a moment to go through the installed software and get rid of things like installation tools, free trials, and worthless pieces of software that you know you don't want.
Second, install your antivirus or anti-malware program immediately. As soon as your PC is online, it's vulnerable. Viruses and malware outbreaks get worse and worse as time goes by, and most users don t notice until their machines become unusable. This should always be one of the first things done after unboxing and plugging in a machine. And although this should go without saying, make sure there is only ONE antivirus solution on the machine. Having more than one program could cause conflicts and leave you unprotected.
Third, you should set up regular maintenance tasks. This might seem kind of boring, but go ahead and do it now, before you get distracted by other issues.
This applies to just about any Windows machine that you have. Make sure you have Disk Cleanup and Defragmenter set up to happen at regularly scheduled intervals. Also, make sure you set up both antivirus and anti-malware for regularly scheduled scans and daily definition updates.
The fourth thing to do that could have a big impact on performance and security is to disable unnecessary services on your PC.
Windows machines have plenty of services that are simply not needed. If, for instance, you never send or receive faxes through your PC, then you can safely disable the fax service.
Now, this tip can be a bit more difficult to implement than the previous tips, and some argue that it's unnecessary. I recommend that only experienced users go messing around with Windows services.
If you do decide to undertake this task, check out TechRepublic's resources on Windows services and how to disable them.
Lastly, if a machine seems sluggish out of the gate, it could mean it barely has the resources to run everything necessary. You can give it an immediate boost by turning off the Aero feature in either Vista or Windows 7.
This will disable all of the fancier GUI elements of the OS but give you back some speed. To do this in Vista, right-click on the desktop, select Personalize, and then click Window Color And Appearance. Next, click Open Classic Appearance Properties For More Color Options. In the Appearance Settings dialog box, select Windows Vista Basic from the Color Scheme list.
For Windows 7 just right-click the desktop, select Personalize, and then scroll down until you see Basic Themes. Select a basic theme and Aero will be disabled.
These tips are pretty basic, but will pay off in the end for the average Windows user.
For more teachings on your path to becoming an IT Ninja, visit trdojo.techrepublic.com, or you can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/billdetwiler.
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