If you’re like me, anytime you get your hands on a new computer there are a handful of things you do to it. That could be if the computer is for your use or for someone else. Here is my top 10 things I do:
- If there is trialware software, I remove it – especially if it is anti-virus software! Clean up all of the unneeded software
- Run Microsoft Updates to ensure the operating system is fully patched. Even newly shipped computers can need 10’s to over 100 updates!
- Visit the hardware manufacture’s website such as the Dell Support Website and check for updates to the BIOS and other hardware. As with #2 above, the vast majority of computer shipped directly from the manufacture is running old software such as BIOS and firmware.
- Install a web browser of choice – for me I install both Chrome and Firefox.
- Install a handful of standard apps every user needs:
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Java for Desktop Computers
- Adobe Flash Player (but you’ll need to do this for each browser you use)
- Adobe Shockwave Player (old, but some sites still require it)
- Adobe AIR Player (used on some sites)
- VLC (plays just about any media)
- Open Office (if you don’t own a copy of Microsoft Office)
- Virtual Drive Clone (lets you mount ISO as if they were CDs)
- Install any purchased or commercial software
- Download and CCleaner, and run the registry cleanup utility – during the install, I uncheck virtually all of the install options. I like this tool hidden, not actively running, and not even viewable on the start menu. I will execute it from the “Program Files” directory manually. I prefer an un-cluttered Start menu, so many utilities, especially for other people, I keep un-linked in the start menu.
- Install Anti-virus software:
- I prefer commercial Anti-virus software, and never recommend a consumer grade AV software for anyone
- If you don’t have access to a commercial/business AV software, choose Microsoft Security Essentials – a lightweight, free, non-ad driven Anti-virus software
- Run a disk defragmentation software, either Microsoft’s built in utility, or Diskkeeper (highly recommend)
- Setup a non-administrative user account. If this is a domain based workstation, then this is likely already taken care of but for small work groups, friends or family personal computers, I always setup two accounts. Their “user” account and their “adminsitator account”. Both have passwords, typically the same password to make it easy for them. I have them always use the “user account”. And if appropraite setup the computer to auto login to that account.
In the next article I will discuss some of the software tools I install on my own workstations as an administrator and power user.