Bought a new computer? Before you do anything, perform these steps first.
1. Isolate your computer from the Internet
Do not allow your computer to connect to the web until you have prepared it for the onslaught of viruses. A study has shown there is a 50 percent chance that a non-ready PC will be infected within 12 minutes of connecting to the Internet. So do not connect your Internet cable, and turn the wireless function off, either physically if there’s a wireless switch on the PC, or by going to [Start Menu -> Control Panel -> Network Connections] and disabling it there.
2. Check whether you got what you paid for
Go to [Start Menu -> Run] and type ‘dxdiag’. You will see a summary of your computer’s specifications, such as the RAM (memory) and the processor. Check both of them, as well as the graphics card used inside. Does your PC have what the salesman said it does?
3. Decrapify your PC
Most computers come bundled with advertisements in the form of “free” promotional software that clutter up your desktop and take up disk space. Just deleting them from your desktop doesn’t remove them from your PC. You have to manually uninstall them by finding the uninstaller program for each of them and run it.
4. Turn on your firewall
Firewalls block any unauthorised intrusions to your computer. Windows XP comes with its firewall turned off, so you have to manually turn it on by going to [Start Menu -> Run] and type in ‘Firewall.cpl’. Then select the ‘On’ button. Windows Vista comes with the firewall turned on, while Mac and Linux users don’t have to bother about viruses.
5. Install an antivirus program
If you’ve bought antivirus software, such as Norton or McAfee, put in the CD and install them. If not, download a free antivirus program such as Avast or AVG on your old computer, and transfer the files via thumb drive or CD-ROM to your new computer and install them.
Your computer is now ready to connect to the web!
6. Partition your hard drive
Partitioning means splitting up your hard drive – for example, if you now have a single C: drive, partitioning splits it up into C: and D: drives if you choose to split it in two. Doing so enables better file management.
Most people install the operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, etc) on the first hard drive, and all the programs and documents on the second. That way, if you have to reinstall the OS, your files don’t get lost.
Why partition now? Partitioning a hard drive usually requires you to format the hard drive a.k.a wipe it clean of data. So do it now when your computer is still brand new and untouched.
7. Protect your startup
Many programs that you are going to install in the coming days as you have fun on your new PC are likely to try adding themselves to the startup list. The longer the list, the slower your computer takes to get ready for use when you turn on the power.
Use the free and bite-sized Startup Guard program to prevent programs from adding to the startup list without your exclusive permission. Tip: only allow programs you want to be automatically running when you turn on the computer to add themselves to startup.