The holidays have come and gone and if you were lucky and extra good this year you just may have had a brand new laptop waiting for you under the tree. Were you a good boy or girl? If you were and you did get a new laptop, first let me say congratulations! There is nothing better than getting a new computer, no matter what time of year. When I get a new laptop, I feel like a kid again, even if I’m going to use it for work.
However, before you really get going on your new laptop, there are several things you need to do to get it ready to be the best machine it can for both work and play. Unless you are a computer expert, you probably had no idea there are a few things you need to do first before you can really get down to business with your new laptop. Let’s take a closer look at several things you should do to that new laptop as soon as you open it.
1. Backup Your Data from Your Old Laptop
Before you even take your new laptop out of the box, there are a couple of things you need to do. First, you need to backup all your data from your laptop. Chances are you have tons of documents, pictures, music and videos stored on your old laptop and you don’t want to lose them. Grab an external hard drive if you have one and copy everything to it. If you don’t have a hard drive, you can always use the cloud. Services such as Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive are available for you to store your files. You get some storage for free, but you may need more depending on the amount of data you must move over to the new laptop.
2. Find Your Application Installers
The next thing you need to do is track down all your application installers that you will need. These days, most of these installers can be downloaded, but you may have some software on disc. If you do, you will need to find these or at least locate an installer online. You can’t just move apps over like you can your data, that means you will need access to all the installers so you can load your software on your new computer.
3. Go Through the Paperwork
I know this one is pretty boring, but trust me it’s important. Look through all the paperwork that came with your new machine and take special note of the warranty. This could come in handy if you have a problem. File all the paperwork along with any receipts (if you have them) somewhere safe. That way if you do run into a problem down the road you are prepared.
4. Setup Your New Laptop
Now it’s time for the fun part. I’m sure you plan on using your laptop in almost every room of your house at some point, but I’m willing to bet you have a main work area somewhere in your home where you laptop will live. For this first setup, go ahead and take it to the main area where you will use it and connect it. Run all the cables you need carefully to the laptop and make sure you can easily access things you may need elsewhere such as the power cable. Once done, turn on your machine.
Your new computer will take you through a basic setup process that will help you configure the machine, setup your wireless Internet, and even create your first account. Follow these steps carefully and make note of any passwords that you create during the process. You will need them later and if you forget them, you could be in for big problems much sooner than you think.
5. Create a Microsoft Account Or Sign In With Your Account
As part of the setup process, you will be asked to sign on to your account. During this time, you can use an existing Microsoft account or create a new one. I strongly suggest you create one even if you don’t live in the Microsoft ecosystem anymore than you absolutely have to. Using a Microsoft account is a great way to access your apps across different systems and it will allow you to download apps from the Microsoft Store with just a click of a button. Without a Microsoft account, you won’t gain access to the great cloud features and you won’t be able to install some apps, such as Netflix, for example, that will really enhance your Windows 10 experience.
6. Remove Bloatware
Pretty much every system you buy has bloatware on it. This is software installed by the computer maker in the factory that you never even asked for and probably don’t want in the first place. Depending on the computer, there could be just one or two things that you have to remove or you could have a dozen. Now I won’t go into why you need to get rid of it other than to say that you don’t need it so why have it? If you want more information, you can visit a previous post of mine here to learn more about it, why it is installed and what you can do about it.
7. Setup Your Security Software
Now this one is a biggie, and it is one that is often overlooked by so many people. If you plan on using your laptop on the Internet, you simply can’t escape it. You must have good antivirus software on your machine and quality anti-malware software isn’t a bad idea either. Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender, and it is pretty good in its own right, but you could always go with a commercial option such as Kaspersky if it makes you feel more comfortable. At the same time, I suggest that you install Malwarebytes on your machine as well to catch that pesky malware and some things that may slip past Defender. I cannot stress enough how important this step is. In fact, if you ignore everything else on this list, do NOT ignore this one. You want to make sure your new laptop doesn’t end up all crudded up with malware and viruses, so make sure you do this before you start using your laptop on a regular basis. To learn more about security and what you should be doing on your laptop, visit my previous post here.
8. Install All Your Applications
Now that you have gotten rid of the apps you don’t need and you have all your security software in place, it’s time to reinstall all your applications. If they are stored on disc, insert the disc and load the software just like you normally do. If they aren’t, visit the sites where the installers can be found and download and install them. Try to make sure you get as many of the apps that you will need done in the beginning as it makes for a much more organized and efficient hard drive if you do. On top of that, once you are finished, you won’t have to go back and try to find software later that you want to use.
9. Restore Your Data
Now that all the basics are setup on your new laptop, it is time to get all your data back on your system. While you may just want to dump it all back onto your machine, I encourage you to take a few minutes to go through it. Restore only what you really need and leave the old data that you probably won’t use on the hard drive or in the cloud. That way if you do need it one day it’s still there, but it won’t take up any space on your machine since you probably will never need it in the first place.
The data you do decide to keep, shouldn’t just live in a folder on your desktop. Move all your music to the music folder and place movies in the videos folders. Copy all your documents back to the documents folder as well. That way everything you need will be together and that will include any new files you create or save as well as the older files that you still need to keep. After all, who wants to go searching for files from their old machine? If you take the time to organize everything now, you will easily be able to find what you need, when you need it.
10. Enjoy Your Machine
Now that you have moved all your files and applications over and configured your machine as best you can, you are now ready to sit back, relax and enjoy the speedy new laptop you have in front of you. Remember, it’s not all play with a laptop. Don’t forget to occasionally make use of your security software and make it a point to regularly back up your data to the cloud that you now use or the external hard drive you picked up so you can be sure your data is always safe if something goes wrong with your new machine. Outside of these little maintenance tasks, you should be able to enjoy your new laptop and use it for work, play or both if that’s what you need.
It’s always fun to get a new laptop, and if you got one for the holidays this year I’m sure you were excited. They can brighten up any holiday season, that’s for sure. However, you want to make sure you take proper care of your laptop. If you received a new laptop, there are several things you need to do first before you start using your laptop every day. If you aren’t a computer expert, you may not even realize some of this should be done in the first place. That’s where we come in.
I’m confident that if you follow this list, you will easily be able to get your laptop ready properly so it will perform exactly as you want it moving forward. You will free up space, get the software you need and protect your machine from all the various security threats out there so you don’t have to worry whenever you connect to the Internet.
Did you get a new laptop this holiday season? If so, did you go through this list before you started using yours? If you didn’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t now. It’s never too late to follow this list to get your laptop into shape.
If you got a new laptop this year, we would love to hear from you. Tell me about your new laptop and what you did to get it ready before you started using it in the comments below.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.