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How to Set Up and Configure Your New Computer

*Last Updated: 01//2021

Did you get a brand new PC for Christmas? Congratulations! A new, high-powered gadget is one of our favorite holiday gifts, so we know how excited you are to get your new computer set up. While newer computers make the automated process fairly easy with step-by-step instructions, customizing your new computer the first time can still be daunting.

We’re here to help! Today, we’re going to show you everything you need to know about setting up your new computer.

What You Need Before Setting Up Your Computer

Your first step will be to unpack your new Windows PC or laptop from the box. Carefully set out the charger, display, keyboard and mouse. Locate the appropriate cable ports for each component and plug them in. If you’re setting up a laptop, it’s best to let it charge for 2-3 hours before going any further. 

Next, be sure to check that your Wi-Fi router has a stable connection or that you have an Ethernet cable ready to plug in. 

You’ll also need a notebook, piece of paper or, better yet, a password manager on another device at hand so you can write down and save all of the new or old passwords you’ll be using. Remember to find a secure place like a lockbox or file cabinet to store the information once you are done setting up your computer. 

Finally, you’ll want an empty storage device like a USB drive or external hard drive ready so you can save and transfer files from your old computer easily.

How to Set Up and Customize Your Windows 10 PC or Laptop

You’re likely familiar with the Windows update system where updates are automatically installed on your computer when available to keep your data secure and everything running smoothly. It’s important to remember that those updates don’t stop when new computer models are made. 

Your first step will be to connect to the internet and check for updates. To do this, power on your computer. You should see a welcome screen that asks you to select the region you’re in. Then your computer will prompt you to connect to your Wi-Fi network. At this point, the automatic boot app will prompt you with a few more basic selections and settings to choose from before asking you to log in with a Microsoft account. 

**If you don’t have a Microsoft account or don’t want to sign in with one, before connecting to your Wi-Fi network, you must select “I don’t have internet access” in the bottom left and continue selecting that option through each step of the auto-installation process.

Once the auto boot app completes the initial basic setup of your computer, it will open up your computer desktop screen. Then you’ll connect to your internet network, if you haven’t already, by going to Start > Settings > Network & Internet.

Simple security

During the initial setup, your computer will install some updates automatically but it’s best to push them through manually. To do this, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security, then under Windows Update click Check for Updates. After a few moments, you will see a message confirming there are updates available. The system will automatically download and install the updates, and may request you to restart your computer to finalize them. This process can take a few minutes for a few updates or much longer if there are many. Be patient and wait for all updates to be completed before moving on. 

Now that your computer is up to date, your next consideration in your transition should be security. Your new computer will likely come pre-installed with antivirus protection software. If your computer will be for personal use and you’re not routinely working in a less than secure environment, the best practice is to remove those security apps immediately. Windows Defender antivirus software that’s built in is more than capable of keeping you safe and your computer clean of malware and viruses.

Removing pre-installed security apps goes hand-in-hand with the next step of your setup.

Getting rid of bloatware

It’s important to remove any unnecessary software the manufacturer may have installed, called “bloatware.” You can do this manually via Windows’ built-in “Remove a Program” feature, but this sometimes leaves behind fragments of uninstalled programs deep in the system. Powerful programs like Revo Uninstaller do the dirty work for you, and make sure these programs are fully cleaned from your system. Others like Should I Remove It automate the process and even provide advice about which programs are safe to remove – remember: you never want to uninstall a program before you know it’s safe to do so!

Syncing files & browser settings

Next, you’ll want to transfer all of your important files, including photos, documents, music, and videos. With your external hard drive, USB flash drive, or SD card of sufficient capacity at hand, you can transfer the files manually, or you can use cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive to sync your files from one computer to another in the background – all you have to do is install the appropriate app onto both PCs, copy your files into the syncing folder, and just walk away! The syncing program will transfer all of your files on its own while you spend some quality time with your family. 

Once you’ve finished transferring your files, it’s time to sync your web browser so you can work just as efficiently as you did on your old computer. Thankfully, two very popular browsers, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, offer the ability to sync all of your bookmarks, settings, and add-ons across devices. Others, like Safari and Opera, can sync simple features like bookmarks and browsing history, but don’t offer the ability to sync other settings.

Now, all that’s left is to install the programs you love, and you’re off to the races! Unfortunately, there’s not much help in this area; while programs exist that will help you transfer installations from one computer to another, it’s generally better to install fresh versions on your shiny new laptop or desktop. It’s worth it, we promise!

And remember, if you need help with any of this, we’re here for you! Get in touch with Friendly PC and we’ll help make sure your computer is always in peak running condition.