Sunday, October 3, 2010

5 Things you should do on a Newly Installed Windows PC

Windows should never be used out-of-the-box (and if you use it forever without taking additional measures, it won’t last long and you will end up reinstalling the OS) and I’ve learnt that after servicing PCs for a couple of years. In this post, I am going to list 5 things you should do to make sure that your computer stays safe for the years to come....


Install Security Software:

Staying without Antivirus software can be very dangerous since there are a lot of threats in today's scenario, if you are looking to plug in a flash drive on to your computer before installing a security suite, DON’T!
I would always recommend free software since you might have a huge hole in your pocket after buying Windows. The best of the lot is Microsoft Security Essentials/Avira Antivir Personal. Security Essentials is a very effective program offered by Microsoft for users of genuine softwarealt, however, its huge update after installing might put you off (but, be patient and install it says Ashutosh from PC Tonic). Avira Antivir Personal on the other hand is the free version of their Paid Antivirus software. It’s pretty good and prevents you from most of the threats around. Anti-Spyware/Malware software makes your computer even secure, but, they are optional and depend on your computer usage.
After you install security software, make sure that Windows Firewall is enabled and is working, also ensure that Windows Updates are enabled and you are receiving it.

Install Essential Apps and Runtimes:

Now that your computer is secure, it’s time to make it usable. Windows 7 is a lot better in terms of usability compared to its predecessors. The in-built Paint, Word Pad is a lot better this time. However, I’d recommend you install apps like Open Office, 7-Zip, Foxit Reader, Google Chrome, Thunderbird, GIMP, VLC Media Player, Pidgin, uTorrent, Skype etc.
Runtimes like Flash, Java, .NET, Silverlight are essential for a smooth web browsing experience.
Windows 7 lacks a built-in mail application (we all use Thunderbird anyways!) and many other features, the best idea would be to install Windows Live Essentials which comes with many useful apps specially designed for Windows.

Customize your Computer:

You need to customize your computer according to your needs to be more productive. If you use the Sidebar, I recommend you check the Windows Gadget Gallery to check for gadgets that will make your computing simpler. If you are a fan of themes/wallpapers, visit the Windows 7 Themes Gallery and Desktop Backgrounds Gallery and grab what you like. A lot of users I know don’t like the default settings in Folder options of the Windows Explorer. To change the folder options, you need to go to Computer > Tools > Folder Options (Tools bar might not be visible until you press Alt). Take time to organize the libraries and tidy up your computer; don’t leave setup files/documents on the desktop since a cluttered desktop makes you less productive.

Create User Accounts:

Create a normal user account for your daily use since an administrative account is open for exploits. Make sure that you password protect all your accounts (If you have a fingerprint reader, make optimal use of that).

Install Utilities:

Windows is always high-maintenance! Installing utilities will not only help you maintain your computer, but, will also help you in times of despair (Recuva). I would recommend you install utilities like Team Viewer, CCleaner, Defraggler, Revo Uninstalleralt, Recuva, and ImgBurn.
After you’ve done these, you may start using your computer for regular work. Regularly defragment and CCleaner your computer to ensure that it never slows down. Take time to learn shortcuts which will make you a better user of your computer and yes, Show off your screenshot in the comments after implementing all these.