But a new personal computer international relations and security network ’ triiodothyronine like a new car ; you can ’ t merely turn a key and put the pedal to the metal. Okay, possibly you can—but you shouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate. Performing precisely a few simpleton activities when you first fire it up can help it be safer, faster, and better poised for the future. here ’ s how to set up a new laptop or desktop computer the right room, step by dance step .
The foremost footstep is by far the most boring. You shouldn ’ triiodothyronine muck around on the web unless your copy of Windows is in full patched and up to date, period. now for the bad news : Depending on how long your personal computer sat on the retail ledge, this could take minutes—or hours. Either means, it has to get done .
Microsoft releases raw Windows patches at least once per month. major “ feature ” upgrades for Windows 10 and 11 occurred twice per year in the past, but will slow to one per year in the future, with fresh features besides being sprinkled in here and there throughout the year. If your calculator international relations and security network ’ triiodothyronine fully patched, you could be missing key security fixes and celebrated new features .
Keep update Windows until it says you ’ re all caught up .
foremost, make sure your personal computer ’ mho connected to the internet. In Windows 10, open the Start menu and head to Settings > Update and security > Check for Updates. Your system will search for updates, and find some. Download and install them, then reboot your calculator and do it again… and again… and again… until the update check fails to return new entries. Hopefully it won ’ t take besides long, but in worst-case scenarios updating a fresh calculator can take an hour or more .
On the bright side, Windows will download and install new updates as they roll out in the future. You just have to get over this initial hunch !
If your new laptop came with Windows 10 installed, you may see the choice to upgrade to Windows 11. We recommend skipping Windows 11 for now. There ’ south not lone a new interface to learn, but the fresh-out-of-the-oven engage system besides has multiple harsh edges and outright bugs in these early days. Feel dislodge to read our exhaustive Windows 11 review and decide for yourself if it ’ south offered, though. If you already have Microsoft ’ s new-look OS, here ’ s how to fix Windows 11 ’ south worst annoyances, and how to make Windows 11 expression like Windows 10 .
Install your favorite browser
Surfing the web in an unfamiliar browser is like trying to tango while you ’ re wearing person else ’ second shoes. It can be done, but it ain ’ metric ton reasonably. here are target links for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera if Edge isn ’ t your thing .
Chrome has been our go-to pick for years, but the Chromium-based version of Microsoft ’ mho Edge upset the long-time champion in our most holocene attack of world wide web browser testing. Edge is the best browser you can use right immediately if you don ’ metric ton heed breaking away from Chrome, and better however, it ’ south Windows 10 ’ randomness nonpayment. We ’ ve recently run pieces extolling the virtues of Firefox, Vivaldi, Edge, and Opera if you want to play around with your options .
Set up your new PC’s security
now that you ’ ve slipped into something more comfortable, it ’ randomness meter to get your security ducks in a rowing .
Windows Security in Windows 10 .
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Windows ships with Windows Security enabled by default unless your laptop or background includes a third-party antivirus test. Windows Security is a solid, if not excessively detail solution that ’ mho dead-simple to use, big at sniffing out malware, and credibly good enough for most people. It international relations and security network ’ t the most full-featured anti-malware solution out there, though. You can ’ t even agenda scans ! PCWorld ’ s template to the best antivirus for Windows PCs can help you find all the correct tools to keep your personal computer protected .
We besides have a lead to building a solid release security suite, but it takes more legwork and harass than premium antivirus options .
Clean your computer’s bloatware
With your defenses up, it ’ sulfur time to start shoveling the bullshit out of your personal computer .
You can skip this footfall if you built your own Windows personal computer. Straight Windows installations don ’ thymine come with surfeit junk cluttering up your hard force. But boxed PCs from big-name personal computer makers are inescapably brimming with bloatware .
The easiest way to jettison the junk is by typing “ Add and remove programs ” into the Windows search box, then selecting the option that appears at the top of the results. Go through the list and uninstall any undesirable programs. Don ’ t erase apps from your hardware ’ south makers—leave software from the likes of Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Microsoft, and HP or Lenovo alone, for example—but feel unblock to wipe out any bundleware you see. Some of the most normally preinstalled apps are antivirus trials, Dropbox, Candy Crush, Netflix, Spotify, “ App Collections, ” and others.
If you decide to perform a fresh facility of Windows to clear the decks and want to keep some of the software being blasted away ( like Office, say ), be sure to jot down the product key before initiating the march, using something like Belarc Advisor to find it. Going through the apps list and eradicating key offenders should work well enough for most people though .
Fill your new computer with software
Why would you scrap all that junk and clutter ? To make room for your own stuff, cockamamie. New hardware just begs for software to match !
Outfitting your trailer truck is an intensely personal affair, but if you ’ rhenium looking for suggestions, PCWorld has a guidebook to the best release programs that are therefore helpful, so handy, so downright utilitarian that they should be welcome on reasonably much any personal computer. These review roundups and software guides can besides direct you towards some of the best programs around :
head towards Ninite when it comes meter to actually install all that software. Ninite lets you install numerous free applications of your choice all at once, even going so far as to mechanically disable the bundle crapware that many loose programs try to sneak in as part of the facility serve. It ’ s a wonderfully handy joyride that takes the pain out of loading up a new personal computer .
If your new laptop came with Windows 11 preinstalled, you might be uncomfortable with its radical new Start menu and taskbar design. Consider checking out StartAllBack or Stardock ’ south Start11 if sol. Both of these $ 5 programs help you reconfigure the look and feel of Windows 11 in ways the function system itself doesn ’ thyroxine. You can have it back to feeling normal in no time .
Back up your new computer
After all that, your personal computer is ultimately quick to rock : It ’ south safe, astir to date, scrubbed free of junk, and fully of software polish to meet your specific needs. The end is in sight ! But we ’ re not done juuuuuust yet .
nowadays that your personal computer ’ s in fighting supreme headquarters allied powers europe it ’ s an ideal time to create a ringer or picture of your elementary hard drive—the one Windows boots from—and save it to another hard drive. A clone or effigy creates a snapshot replica of your drive, which you can use to boot up Windows if your chief drive gives up the touch. Having an prototype of your system in its current updated, bloatware loose, customize express prevents you from having to do all that legwork over again if you always have to reinstall Windows for any reason .
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so what ’ s the dispute between a clone and an image ? basically, a ringer creates an accurate copy of your hard drive on another drive—files, overcome boot record, and all. The clone consumes the integral hard drive, but it ’ sulfur plug-and-play if you ever need to use it. Images, on the other hired hand, create a single, gigantic file containing all the stuff on your personal computer. It takes a morsel more work to get an image backup ready to roll after a catastrophe, but you have more flexibility in how you store it, since it ’ second basically merely a great big file. Lincoln Spector has a more detail comparison if you ’ re interested .
There are excellent stand-in tools available that let you create clones and images, which we cover in contingent in PCWorld ’ s roundups of the best Windows stand-in software and best on-line accompaniment services. Don ’ metric ton want to pay for data protective covering ? We ’ ve besides rounded up the best complimentary backup options, and if you don ’ metric ton mind performing more technical gruntwork to save some cash, we explain how to use Windows ’ native imaging tool bit-by-bit in PCWorld ’ s guide to creating a barren, foolproof backup system. Use something though. regular backups are your data ’ s only jesus if disaster strikes .
This mistreat isn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate for everyone. few things can introduce troublesome ghosts in your machine faster than a driver that refuses to play nice for whatever reason. If your from-the-box background personal computer is working fine and you only ever plan to perform basic tasks like surfing the web, working with Office, and stuff like that, feel dislodge to forget your calculator even has drivers and keep on keeping on. Windows Update should ’ ve snagged sanely new drivers for your hardware anyhow .
You ’ ll spend some time staring at the Device Manager if you built your own personal computer and need to update your drivers manually .
But if you cobbled together a DIY rig or are rocking a gambling machine, it ’ s a good mind to see if newer drivers are available for your hardware. Windows Update international relations and security network ’ t always on the bleed edge of driver updates, and new drivers for, say, your motherboard or network tease can provide beneficial feature and performance updates. Gamers will need to update their graphics card drivers reasonably often to ensure optimum performance in the newest games. ( fortunately, you can do that easily using Nvidia and AMD ’ s must-have graphics suites, and they ’ ll lease you know when new ones are available. )
PCWorld ’ s template to updating your Windows drivers has all the information you need to proceed. It was written for Windows 8, but if you search for Device Manager in Windows 10 or 11, all of the like steps outlined in the article silent apply. If a driver does somehow manage to bork your personal computer, fear not, as Windows mechanically creates a System Restore Point when you install newfangled device drivers .
And if true disaster strikes in some bizarre, extreme character, you ’ ve got the backup double you ’ ve created—right ?
Optional: Learn about your new computer
now that all the hard work is done, take time to learn all the nooks and crannies of Windows—there ’ s an nasty draw of surprisingly mighty, downright helpful tools and tricks hidden in its depths. Check out PCWorld ’ s guide to the best Windows 10 tips, tools, and tricks. You ’ ll pick up a lot of helpful cognition. We ’ ve besides got a roundup of Windows 11 ’ sulfur best concealed features, how to make Windows 11 expression like Windows 10, and how to fix Windows 11 ’ second worst annoyances. And careless of which version of the OS you use, this usher to 10 little-known Windows features that will blow your mind is worth a read .
At this item you ’ re pretty much ready to roll. certain, there are some other tasks you should perform, such as moving over files from your old personal computer and saving the product key for Windows and your other install software ( again, Belarc Advisor rocks for that ), but you can do all that at your leisure. For now, good bask in the aura of owning a newfangled personal computer, fasten in the cognition that it ’ mho fully optimized, protected against attack, and recoverable if catastrophe strikes .