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Video: Five tips for improving a new Windows PC

Bill Detwiler shares five tips for setting up a new computer that every PC owner should consider before going online.

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. During this week's TR Dojo episode, I share five tips from TechRepublic blogger Jack Wallen on setting up that new PC.

If you're an IT consultant or work for a corporate shop, you should have this process down pat. But somewhere in between, lies the many users who can benefit from knowing what types of things to do when a new PC arrives. That's where this video comes in handy. Send your novice users a link to this video and help them get off on the right foot.

For those who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or check out Jack Wallen's article, "Five tips for improving a new PC."

Here are links to resources that I mention in the video:

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

23 comments
TobiF
TobiF

It's a good thing that newer versions of Windows have built-in firewalls activated by default. But still, I'd like to stress one thing. While you're downloading updates to Windows and setting up protection against virus/malware, don't do this directly connected to the internet. Make sure your connection is from behind a NAT router. This is very important if you were to install (or reset) an XP computer, since XP without any service pack will be infected before you even have any chance to download the protection needed, if it is put directly on a public ip-address.

AzureRaptor
AzureRaptor

I will rarely waste time watching a video for; I figure somebody who can't (or can't be bothered to) put their thoughts in writing competently is just seeking attention - and usually doesn't have a useful information to boot. There are astronomically rare exceptions of course. More importantly, a lot of workplaces block any kind of internet streaming video, so you're cutting off a fair amount of your audience there. So, thank you very much. Please keep up the good work.

pjboyles
pjboyles

Less crapware depends on what type of system consumer or business class. That is missing from your poll. For consumer targeted systems, none of the major vendors. For business targeted systems, they need to drop the office trial and AV trial. For the consumer, go to your local IT shop and buy a custom configured system crapware free!

RodinUK
RodinUK

Go for a smaller outfit and they're less likely to have the deals that cause this problem, particularly if you can specify the build with them.

mgmorgan01
mgmorgan01

You said nothing about Windows 7. Who in their right mind is buying XP or Vista?

CSA
CSA

Personally, Bill, thr first 5 steps I recommend are: 1) Image the Hard Drive 2) Install & configure your preferred A/V amd Anti-Malware apps 3) Install the latest OS and office productivity software updates 4) Install SysInternals' "Autoruns" and cleanup unnecessary startup items 5) Uninstall crapware

tehpea
tehpea

Maybe some send 3 crapwares and some send one but if the latter is as annoying as 3... well it gets hard :)

gcanny@GC-Tek.com
gcanny@GC-Tek.com

Good tips but I would add these additions... 1) First, unpack your new system, power it up with NO NETWORK CONNECTION! Clean up Crapware, Areo settings and start up apps you do not want. then install your malware active scanner from a CD or Flash Drive. Only after your malware scanner is active, setup your network connection, download malware updates and do a full scan. Now you have cleaned out any malware that may have come on the system and your are protected for new malware coming from the net. 2) Only have one active malware scanner running but having a few for manual scanning programs is a good plan. I use AVG Free that is active always but every few weeks, or if there is a problem detected, I run manual scans with Spybot S&D and Malwarebytes. Remember, always run an update before a scan. From time to time one scanner will catch something the others don't.

Tommy S.
Tommy S.

They are hand built and are totally crapware free. They also only use the best software and hardware available.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

When the average user buys a new PC, it's nearly impossible for him or her to fight the urge to take it out of the box and immediately start loading your favorite programs and surfing the Internet. On this week's episode of TR Dojo, I explore five tips for setting up a new computer. And, the first tip is to remove all the junk software the often comes installed on new machines. Of the major computer manufacturers, which one sells new machine with the least amount of junk software or "crapware"? Take the poll and let me know. Original post and poll: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=2149

Bo Tym
Bo Tym

1. Re-install the OS so you are absolutely sure there is no CW. 2. Delete any and all Temp/Prefetch files + IE temp files then Defrag. (Image at this point if desired) 3. AV solution install + Update. 4. Delete any and all Temp/Prefetch files + IE temp files then Defrag. 5. Windows + Device Driver Updates. 6. Delete any and all Temp/Prefetch files + IE temp files then Defrag. 7. DirectX install 8. Flash/Java (if if requiered) 9. Delete any and all Temp/Prefetch files + IE temp files then Defrag. My list feels incomplete, I'm sure I've missed something, but this is roughly what I do, and it seems to be working.

mfa
mfa

Their Vostro line is advertised as having no crapware installed, and my experience with them suggets that they're telling the truth.

itpro_z
itpro_z

Who are you buying your PCs from if they come out of the box with malware? If I got a machine like that I would be looking for another vendor.

MikeGall
MikeGall

Unless it is your job to review computers chances are you are buying the corporate standard. Also chances are you are imaging it with your sites configuration. I doubt most of us even boot up the computer before we image the typical computer. Except of course when we are first building out the image.

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

Is to reformat the drive, and install Linux!

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

...because they have absolutely NO crapware on them. Everything that you get on your new Apple PC is a fully funcitonal, licensed full version of the software. I even purchased two at Micro Center, not an Apple Store, and they only had OSX and iLife on them. Though I may not use all of the applications in iLife, they are full versions, and you do get the media, so I cannot include them in the same class as crapware that comes on every Lenovo, HP, Toshiba, Dell, and other mass-market Windows PC out there. Why, at this time it only has 21% in this "poll" is beyond me.

dirving
dirving

While I haven't purchased PCs from all the vendors listed, my limited experience suggests that Dell and HP are particularly poor in this area. On the other hand the Samsung laptop I recently purchased had none that I could find.

robo_dev
robo_dev

so we don't know if brand A is better than brand B. I tend to buy mostly Dell, and they have a fairly low CW score, meaning that they typically load only five or six apps that need to go. Some the crapware comes from Microsoft, such as Windows Live. The main thing to remind people is to set frequent restore points when setting up the PC. Once you have it de-crapped, set a restore point, and ideally make a backup image to DVD at that point.

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

At the schools I service, we only buy Dells with an OS. There is nothing else installed. Then we image them to our liking...

gcanny@GC-Tek.com
gcanny@GC-Tek.com

I would hope that new PCs would be free of malware but if you don't scan them how would you know. I would NOT assume anything is clean without scanning it myself.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

which I don't. I couldn't tell you who has the most CW; I can't remember the last time I allowed a system to perform it's initial boot from the hard drive. I boot it from the Windows installation media from out Enterprise agreement (not the CW-bloated media the vendor provides) and build it from there.

Rayezilla
Rayezilla

making a restore image immediately 'after' removing the unneeded stuff is a great point.

JJFitz
JJFitz

We don't even look at the junk a pc comes with. We just slap our own image on it. The only time I see crapware is when I look at someone's home computer. Dell and HP seem to have a lot. Acer had less.