At Wallenpaupack The Poconos Computer Repair Company I often get asked to set up new computers for people.  This is a good idea since there is much involved in the process.  Nevertheless, there are many people that like a challenge  and attempt to do things themselves, so I wrote this article for you “Do-it-yourselfers” which covers the process.  Hope this helps. For others give us a call and we can do this remotely over the phone with you one on one to ensure you have all the proper safety, protection and backup systems in place 570-766-8299

Get Your Files off Your Old Machine

If you have files and folders on your old machine you need to put them on a portable storage device, a flash drive, and then move them to your new machine after you set your computer up… I would leave a copy of the files on the flash drive and that is your back-up should you experience a catastrophic machine failure in the future.

Plug In, Go Through Set-up Menu and Run Your Updates:

When you turn your new computer on you will be prompted to choose settings for the computer name, time zone, language, network, updates, etc.  This is very intuitive — just fill in the blanks.   This is also a good time to register the computer and software.  Then you are ready to run updates. Since your machine has been sitting on a warehouse or retailer’s shelf for a while you will have updates due at the time of purchase.

Uninstall Bloatware and Activate Antivirus Software Suite

Bloatware is the software that will come preloaded with your brand new laptop or desktop in the form of 30 day trials or trail subscriptions or other junk.  While this software may not be harmful (debatable) most of the times they are just a waste of space. To remove simply go to Control Panel > Add/Remove> Uninstall.  If your machine has a one year subscription to an antivirus suite you can activate that at this point.  Otherwise you can uninstall the 30 day antivirus trial and read my article on “Five Free Antivirus Suites You Can Try for Zilch.”

Creating a System Restore Disk

You can create a restore disk in case something happens and you need to restore your computer to its factory state.  Since most computers come with a recovery partition that allows you to recover your computer to factory state, making is disks is optional; however, there are circumstance where the recovery manager will not function normally, such as destruction of the partition by a virus infections, etc. Therefore many people still choose to create disks in case of emergency. To do this:
♦Go to start menu.

 

♦In the search bar, type “backup”.

 

♦Click on the “backup and Restore” option.

 

♦On the left side of the panel, you will see an option “create a system repair disc”.

 

♦Click on the option and follow the process.

Configure Power Options:

Familiarize yourself with the power settings and options available in your computer. In Windows Vista and 7 just go to start and search for “Power Options.”  You can configure all your power options here including when the screen turns off, when or if the computer sleeps, what happens when you close the lid and what the power button does.

Choose Your Home Page and Make Bookmarks

When you get on the internet with Internet Explorer you probably want the page that comes up to be your favorite search engine, or your Email Login Page (which are often the same place).   Most people set their homepage to Google, Yahoo, or Bing.  In your browser window go to Tools>Internet Options> and then set your home page to the preferred URL.  This is also a good time to visit your Bank Website, Favorite Shopping Site, and other places you visit on a regular basis and add those websites to your favorites, favorite’s toolbar, or bookmarks.

Transfer Your Files From Your Old Machine

Remember the files we pulled off your old machine earlier?  Now is a good time insert your flash drive and drag old documents, photos, and music to your new computer. Plug in the flash drive and wait for it to populate “Computer” screen.  Then drag a copy of your files, photos and music to the appropriate folder on your new machine and get back to computing as usual on your new computer!

Nearly 100% of all computer virus infections and scams come from internet activity – nowhere else. Malicious software doesn’t magically install itself on your computer nor does it usually enter though a flash drive or disk. It comes in through the internet. Where else, right? There are many ways that you can improve security when it comes to your online activities. It is imperative to develop these habits now as doing so will help protect you from increasing problems with unsecure utilities, software and viruses that might seriously affect your security and computer health in the future.

Monitor Browser Health

Your web browser is your gateway to the internet world. Therefore its health and security is your first line of defense against threats coming in from the internet. There are three common web browsers that most people use today. MS Internet Explorer (IE), Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. IE comes with your OS and can’t be uninstalled. It should be an adequate browser if kept clean and free of corruption and infection. From the menu or command toolbars you can check your add-ons and see if anything unexpected is ominously lurking in your browser. Oftentimes people inadvertently install add-ons (usually toolbars) while downloading utilities they think might be useful. These add-ons can seriously compromise browser security and affect browser performance, as well. To see if you have add-ons go to: Tools >Manage Add-ons >Toolbars and Extensions. Here you can disable the add-ons and then remove them from the control panel. If you see many add-ons that you do not recognize you should reset IE completely. To do this go to: Tools >Internet Options >Advanced >Reset. It is easy to do and you do not lose your bookmarks/favorites. Afterward remove unwanted software from the control panel.

Be Aware of Phishing Scams

Phishing schemes commonly delivered in the form of email is a type of scam where you are potentially tricked into downloading junk utilities or software (which often asks you for money later) a virus, or providing sensitive information. These messages are made to look as though they have originated from your bank, social media or payment sites such as Paypal or other legitimate people or companies. The phishing message often contains a link that will then lead to a counterfeit version of the site or ask you to open an infected attachment or download an infected utility. Or it might contain an attachment that it says you should open to continue. Don’t allow your curiosity to kill your computer. Delete all unsolicited mail. Never click links in emails or open email attachments unless you recognize the sender. And don’t give your credit card information over the internet unless you do it directly on a website (not from your email Inbox or a pop-up message) and you’re sure you trust the company.

Avoid Most Free Utilities

It’s very tempting to install that snazzy fish tank screen saver you see flashing on the sidebar of your favorite social site. DON’T DO IT! These types of free utilities usually come with a catch. In order to use them you give up something . . . usually your browser health or internet security in return for the favor. Video players, music converters, game toolbars, chat applets, screen savers, pc optimizers and cleaners and the like are all very tricky utilities to use without getting toolbars and viral infections. Next time you want to get that utility that makes your Facebook like an Electric Light Orchestra concert . . . .think twice about it. . .

Run a Malware Removal Tool Regularly

Even though you may think you’re protected because you have antivirus software you’re not. It is about as effective as a safety on a gun – not very effective at all. Especially where people are not adequately trained on computer systems or there are multiple users on a single machine. In this case, I often find that the computers have multiple virus infections present. It is important to run a virus removal utility such as AdAware or Malwarebytes (both of which are free) on a regular basis in addition to updating your Antivirus Software. Antivirus software alone is not enough. Yes you read that right. The antivirus software that you are relying on to protect you from virus infections is inadequate to protect you in all circumstances. Therefore I recommend you use separate virus removal software for removal on a regular basis. Caution: Be careful when installing a malware removal tool that you do not install another full antivirus suite. If you have any question uninstall the malware removal utility when finished. For more free information on computer repair topics you can visit my website here.