Got a new computer? Congratulations! A good computer specs/build these days is a good investment. Having the right kind of PC that meets your requirements boosts productivity and allows you to do so much more. It doesn’t only allow you to play games anymore, it’s also a money-making machine, that lets you work from home, and earn while playing games on a computer. All the more that you should be able to take care of your new computer. Many people are unaware and don’t know how to ensure safe use of a computer. 

Here are our tips on the things you should do after buying a new PC

  1. Setting up your computer.

    1. Basic connections
      1. Power for the system unit or the desktop.
      1. Power for the monitor
      1. Connection between the system unit and the monitor
      1. Keyboard & mouse via USB connection to the system unit

  2. Logging into your Windows PC

    1. Login with your Microsoft Account – lets you connect with your Skype, OneDrive, Office, Xbox, and other Microsoft accounts as well. Let’s you sync your Windows settings across all your devices. Click here to purchase the licensed version.

    1. Login using a local account – easier but doesn’t have the benefit of the aforementioned. You can do this by disconnecting your internet connection when setting up Windows 10.

  3. (Optional for laptop or branded pre-built systems) De-Bloat your System

    – Computer brands like HP, Lenovo, Acer, and a few others typically pre-install crapware on their pre-builts (may it be desktops or laptops). Crapware are non-essential software that can just slow down your computer system so it’s always best to remove them. I would recommend using Microsoft’s built-in Windows 10 Fresh Start tool. It will basically reset your OS back to the basics. Note: this tool will also remove Office and other MS installations, so I would suggest that you do this before you install your other applications. Also, you DON’T need to do this if your computer doesn’t have crapware.

    1. To access this tool in Windows 10, click the Start button and go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Device performance & health.
    1. Click the Additional info link under the Fresh Start section. 
    1. The next screen will tell you exactly what will be removed once you start the tool. Click the Get Started button to begin the process.
    1. A Fresh Start window pops up to explain the process. Click the Next button to see which apps will be removed. This will help you know which programs will need to be reinstalled once the process is complete. Click Next and click the Start button to begin.
    1. The tool then downloads and installs Windows 10 from scratch. You’ll want to take a nice, loooong coffee break as this process can take awhile to finish.
    1. Finally, Windows delivers you to the Lock screen and then the sign-in screen. Log in as you normally would.
    1. Windows will now set itself up. After the setup completes, you’ll see that Windows 10 has reverted to a clean state with none of the junkware that plagued you before.
    1. Of course, you’ll have to reinstall the apps that were removed and reset the settings that were changed in order to get Windows back to the way you want it. You can kick off this process by opening the Removed Apps desktop icon to see which programs you might want to reinstall.
    1. Some apps may display a link to download them again. If the app you want is not listed, you will have to download it yourself.
    1. SIDENOTE: You may want to keep trial software (anti-virus software and similar stuff) – these are software that you may want to try first before uninstalling.

  4. Setup your system’s security

    – Nowadays, your computer’s security should be one of your top priorities. Especially if you’re keeping all of your online financial records as well as online banking accounts/logins in your computer (Password Vault for PC and Keychain for Mac). Furthermore, if you’re a freelancer – you may have access to your client’s e-commerce channels as well as accounting/financial documents. Unprotected, your computer system could leak out these information to others through malware, ransomware, and other similar malicious programs.

    1. Free – Windows has a built-in antivirus app called Microsoft Windows Defender Security Center; personally, I find it sufficient, especially if you are already very careful with the sites that you go to, and the data that you download. You can also browse the internet for some free antivirus apps, if you’d feel more comfortable with 3rd party providers.

    1. Paid – Some of these paid security applications will provide a more robust protection, not just for your system but also for your online accounts. Familiar brands like Norton and Bitdefender are some of the best. If you install a 3rd party system protection software, Windows will automatically deactivate their built-in app. Neat!

  5. Update your Windows system

    -This is crucial. So first, make sure that you have a licensed MS Windows installation (because you can’t update a cracked Windows OS). Then make sure to always grab the latest update because these typically compose of security patches to help keep your system secure. Remember to ensure a tight internet connection, because failed updates can break your system. Some BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) errors result from bad update installations. You may schedule updates on your non-work days if you prefer.

  6. (Optional, but highly suggested) Setup System Recovery Now

    – Don’t worry, you don’t necessarily need a USB drive to do this (but you still can); Windows will provide you with an option to partition a portion of your local drive (if its big enough) for the recovery drive. A recovery drive would let you “recover” from something catastrophic quickly.

  7. (Optional, but also highly suggested) CREATE a System Image

    – While your system is in its freshest state. This is like taking a snapshot of your system, which lets you rewind your OS to that state when something bad happens (all apps and updates installed from Sys Image point); compared to “reformatting” and reinstalling Windows – which would require you to redownload all updates and all installed apps.

  8. Install your favorite apps

    – Now this is a case to case basis, but I will lay out some of the most common apps used by most people.

    1. Your choice of web browser(s) (FREE)
      – I usually use two web browsers because I tend to log into more than one account for some social media web apps as well as other online apps. But be wary about having multiple web browsers and multiple tabs of each opened at one time – they can be resource hogs. The most popular and good ones (depending on the user) are: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, and Edge (pre-installed, and cannot be uninstalled) Chrome is great due to the multitude of extensions and if you’re in the Google ecosystem you’ll benefit from being logged into Chrome – for ease of use. Firefox is the most reliable. Safari if you’re a Mac user and are used to how it functions. Opera if you want speed and minimal resource draw. Edge, if you have nothing else installed.

    1. An Office suite (PAID or FREE)
      – Unlike Macs, Windows doesn’t have a preinstalled office suite (unless you count the free trial as one). So either you purchase an MS Office license so that you can install MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and such. Or you can opt for a free office suite like Apache Open Office, Google Docs/Sheets/Slides Personal (Free), LibreOffice, and more. Ofcourse, you have to consider some “relearning” if you’re already used to MS Office.

    1. An Image or Photo Editing Tool (PAID or FREE)
      – Now, this depends on your use case; if you’re just editing photos, your best bet is Photoshop (which is paid) or Gimp (for free). If you’re doing logo design or image creation, then you’d need a program/app like Illustrator (paid), or Inkscape – a free alternative that closely resembles Adobe’s paid offering. If you’re looking for free and easy-to-use apps for both image editing or image creation – there are web-based apps like Pixlr and Canva that you can use for your design work.

    1. Video Editing App (PAID or FREE)
      – For those of you who are doing video editing work, Adobe Premiere Pro is your best bet. But beyond its free trial, you’ll need to cough up more or less P1000 monthly to subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud (with Premiere Pro). If you have a budget of zero pesos, then DaVinci Resolve is the thing for you. Don’t be fooled by the “free” sign though, this app is used by professional artists/studios. There is actually no catch to this free “professional-level” video editing software; although their paid version features some extras and even an advanced AI powered neural engine.

    1. Other applications that are specific to niche work like motion graphics/vfx creation, 3D modeling/design/creation, UI/UX design work
      – There are paid and free versions for everything nowadays. You just have to do your research. 🙂

  9. Maintain and optimize your Windows 10 computer

    – A lot of people will recommend downloading 3rd party apps to keep your Windows 10 system in good running condition. Except for antivirus programs – you don’t really have to download anything else to keep your system fresh. You just have to do the following:

    1. Always clean up – delete unused files and uninstall unwanted/unused programs.

    1. Limit Startup programs – check what boots up along with your system; you don’t need all of them to start with your OS because they will bog it down. Rule of thumb is to only keep the following enabled to boot with the OS: antivirus/antimalware apps, apps for audio, wireless, touchpad (laptops), Microsoft services (some ), apps and services for Intel and AMD, and anything that you usually use immediately after starting up your system.

    1. Run Defragmenter (for HDDs or optical disc drives); Windows will automatically and periodically defragment your SSDs for you. I know people say that defragmenting SSDs is bad, but newer SSDs are designed much differently and can now handle more read/write counts; furthermore, since Windows now does this for you automatically (once a month), rest assured that it’s being done appropriately and intelligently.

    1. Run ChkDsk or Check Disk (if you’re running older Windows); Windows 10 does this for you automatically – this will check your computer’s OS for file system errors, bad sectors, lost clusters, etc.

    1. Install and run anti-malware and/or antivirus software – some of our work involves downloading files off of the internet – and that comes with some risks of getting our system infected with potentially unwanted programs. So run these security apps regularly before your system gets compromised.

    1. Be proactive when online – always be mindful of the sites that you visit. A basic rule of thumb is to check for that “lock” icon or the “https” before going in. “Locked” or “https” means that the site has an SSL certificate which means that your information is kept private and secure. A non-secure website may have malicious intentions; so be extra wary. Furthermore, make sure that whatever you’re downloading comes from a trusted website or provider. I know how tempting it is to get free software and such, but you have to also consider the costs of having your computer’s security breached and your precious data compromised.

    1. Physically clean your computer once every couple of months – Before cleaning, turn off and unplug your computer. For your system unit (for desktops), use a fine soft-bristled brush and lightly brush the internals to remove dust. Make sure to do this lightly so as not to detach components from their sockets. If you can afford compressed air, you can use it in lieu or combined with a brush (whichever works for you). For your keyboard, mouse, and monitor – you can use a small (handheld) vacuum to suck out the dust; alternatively, you can also use the aforementioned soft-bristled brush and/or compressed air.

Other tips:

If you’re using a laptop and you’re just at home, you’re better off using a separate keyboard and mouse – this would save your built-in keyboard and trackpad from wear and tear. It would be more expensive to replace broken trackpads and/or keyboards.

If your work involves voice – try installing sound dampening materials around your desk. There’s a reason why office cubicles have those foam-like/fabric materials padding them. Sound absorption lessens echoes and helps improve in canceling noise from your environment. Use thick cloth window drapes, egg cartons (if you don’t mind the look), and other thick fabric around your station.

Wireless is the way. If you want a clean setup or if you like moving around while working – you’re better off using a wireless keyboard and/or a wireless mouse.

Long work hours will put a strain not just on your eyes and on your back. Your hands (fingers, wrists, arms) do most of the work and actually suffer the most. To avoid injuries caused by strenuously long work hours – use tools to correct your actions. Wrist pads for your keyboard and mouse are the cheapest ways you can alleviate stress from your hands.

Speaking of which, you also need to make sure that your monitor is perfectly aligned with your head. This ensures that you’re not straining your neck while working. If you use a laptop, you can either 1) use a riser to elevate it to eye level, or 2) connect it to a monitor so that you can make easier adjustments.

In the future, we can talk about ways to optimize your computer’s performance.