Nowadays, most computers ship with preloaded software and preconfigured system settings. While this makes setup easier, it can also lead to the assumption that the computer is ready to use immediately afterward. But that’s not usually the case. Before you use any new computer, it is important to perform several tasks that will better secure it and optimize its performance.
Here are five things you should do before you start using your new computer:
1. Update the Operating System
Your computer likely sat on a shelf in a store or warehouse for a while before you bought it. During that time, the operating system did not receive any updates from the vendor. Besides adding functionality, these updates address newly discovered security vulnerabilities and fix bugs in the software. Updating your operating system will bring you a step closer toward ensuring that your computer is secure and running smoothly.
2. Install or Update Security Software
Patching security vulnerabilities in your operating system is not enough to keep your computer secure. You also should use a security program. Some computers include preinstalled security software. If you want to use it, you just have to activate it and install any new updates released by the vendor. If your computer does not include a security program or you want to use a different one, you need to install the desired software and update it as necessary.
3. Uninstall Preloaded Programs That You Do Not Want
New computers often come with free programs that computer manufacturers try to push on users. These preinstalled programs can slow down your computer and take up valuable space on your hard disk. So, you should get rid of any preloaded software that you do not plan on using.
4. Schedule Data Backups
Scheduling data backups from the start is a good way to ensure that you won’t lose data if disaster strikes. Most operating systems include a data backup utility. Alternatively, you can use a third-party program or a cloud-based backup service. No matter which one you use, you should schedule frequent backups. Backing up your data every day is ideal.
5. Document Product Information
Documenting information about your computer’s hardware and software is important. At the very least, you should record serial numbers and product keys as they are proof of ownership. Recording license and warranty expiration dates is also a good idea in case one of the computer’s components has a problem. You should save the documentation in a secure location that is easy to access in an emergency. Do not save it on your hard drive, though, in case it fails. You might also want to keep a second copy in a secure location, such as in a safe or the cloud.