Whether you are setting up a new computer or just finished installing a fresh copy of Windows, there are several steps you should consider taking before using the device to the full.
I’m Dom, I’m a tech enthusiast and I build and maintain computers daily. As an IT professional, I will provide you with my advice on what you should do after setting up your device for the first time.
Make sure your copy of Windows is activated.
This usually applies when you installed a fresh copy of Windows, but there’s no harm in double-checking. As Windows requires a licence to be fully operational, you have to enter a licence key after installing Windows. If you have purchased a computer with the system already installed, this should be activated. This handy guide will show you how to check whether your version of Windows is activated.
Install the latest updates
Updates are important for any operating system. They ensure the system is patched with the latest fixes and security patches. If your device has Windows pre-installed, one of the first things you should do is check for updates as the image or copy of Windows you have installed by the manufacturer may be outdated. If you are installing a fresh copy of Windows you should also do this, although some may argue that you should create a backup of your system first, however, I tend to disagree because if the updates go wrong you could easily reinstall Windows without wasting time on creating backup copies.
It’s also worth making sure all your drivers are up to date. I recommend using a tool called Driver Pack Solution. The video below will show you how to use it:
Install your core programs
The third step I recommend is installing the core programs you will be using. To help you out I recommend using a cool tool called Ninite. Ninite is an awesome package manager that allows you to install several essential apps such as Google Chrome, VLC Media Player and 7Zip hassle-free and at the same time. I can honestly say that this program has been a lifesaver to me and that I highly recommend it!
Protect your system
Create a backup image
Backing up a newly set up system is an essential step that will save you in the future. There are many ways of doing this and I like to create two backup images consisting of a core full backup image first and a full image backup after everything is set up and installed. This method will provide me with a clean light image with the basic apps and then a full backup image with all apps installed. I then save these system images on 3 different devices. I mainly use Acronis, which is a paid package, but Macrium Reflect is a great free alternative.
Secure your system from threats and viruses
There are many different opinions amongst IT professionals when it comes to security or antivirus software. As someone who works in IT, I would advise using at least some variation of security software. In its most basic form, Windows Defender is good but I wouldn’t use it alone. I recommend using it with a program called Malwarebytes which can be downloaded free of charge and used free in on-demand mode. Please make sure that you deactivate Malwarebytes so that it’s used in on-demand mode as you may find that it will may conflict with other antivirus software.
I also recommend using paid antivirus software. My favourites include Eset, Emsisoft and Sophos Home. I’ve tested and used all 3 personally and can’t recommend them enough. Paid security solutions are great if you work with sensitive data. They also have several extra features which will help you keep safe online such as website advisers, parental controls and more. There are several brands out there and it’s worth doing the research before purchasing. Av-Test, a security test institute is a great place to start as it provides ratings of the most common software.
The Last Step
The last step should be the fun stage, the personalisation. I usually recommend doing this after you’ve created the backup image because I find that trends tend to change. For example, the layout and wallpaper you set during the setup stage may be out of fashion by the time you need to revert to your old copy. This is only a small thing but it’s worth considering.
So we talked about the importance of creating a backup image but we haven’t talked about creating a regular backup plan. At present, I use Acronis to manage my backups and I find it extremely useful. But unfortunately, it does cost. If you are looking for a low-cost backup solution I recommend using Google Drive Backup and sync. It can be set to sync your files to the cloud at an extremely low cost. You can use Google Drive for free if you don’t mind the 15GB storage limit, but 200GB costs under £3 per month!
The alternative is that you set Windows to do the backups for you, but make sure it’s to an external device.
In summary, this article explains the basic things you should do after setting up a new computer for the first time or installing Windows. Setting up a new PC for the first time is extremely easy, you just need to turn it on and follow the steps. Unfortunately, these steps won’t tell you most of the things I went through in this article, so hopefully, I can help someone!
If you are looking to install Windows, I created a handy video guide on my YouTube Channel and I linked them below.
Windows 11 Guide:
Windows 10 Guide:
In all fairness, installing Windows from scratch can also be extremely easy, just make sure you backup any files before you attempt to install a new operating system.
I’m a Tech Enthusiast, IT Specialist and Coffee Lover. This is my personal blog where I write about my experience with technology, tips, guides and more.