Laptops are not plug and play. Not only do they come without essential installs, they also come with bloatware that devour your memory and hard-disc space. Here’s a step-by-step guide, starting at the very beginning, on how to set-up your laptop to maximize its performance. Note: A small part of the physical set-up may require some assistance, but the tasks are basic and simple and do not require anyone with technical expertise, just someone with working hands that can plug things in and push any buttons that you cannot access when you tell them to.
Check the label carefully before you break the seal and make sure the spec listed is what you ordered. If you received the wrong system it will be a lot easier to return before you crack the seal. If it checks out, open it and remove all the parts from the packaging doing as little damage to the packing and keeping all parts. Usually the box contains a start sheet listing what parts are expected, check the items in the box against the sheet. At a minimum there will be the laptop, a battery, cables and probably a few of small manuals and guarantee pages often sealed in a plastic envelope.
Insert the battery (if its not integrated) and plug in the power cable to the laptop and the wall. Press the power button. If nothing happens, don’t panic, leave it to charge for an hour or so, then try turning it on again, it might just be totally flat.
Be ready to reboot
You will be asked at various points to reboot your laptop, do so every time and just wait for it to finish booting up again.
Installation and setup
Once the system has started there will be a number of setup instructions. We are not going to try and detail them exactly because it will vary depending on which operating system you have. Follow the step-by-step instructions carefully and you should be fine. Be aware that some options, like selecting your language, are permanent and cannot be changed later so make sure you get it right. It will reboot after finishing the install.
Plug in an ethernet cable and wait ten seconds; it should automatically connect. Alternatively, connect to the wifi network. To connect to the wifi network, look for the wifi symbol at the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Click it, select yours, it will now ask for your password. Enter it and you should be on-line.
Add to your local network (Windows)
If you have other computers connected, your laptop will automatically detect this and a request for your Homegroup password will pop-up. Enter the password to connect your laptop to your local network. You can find your homegroup password on any other machine by going to Control Panel – Select Homegroup and choose show homegroup password. Connecting to your local network will let you share printers, external hard discs, scanners, files and remote access from one computer to another.
Set-up the basics
Load up Internet Explorer as it will be the only browser you have. Go to ninite.com and it will give you a long list of different pieces of free software for you to choose from. Select what you want and select your choices. I would recommending starting with at least the following:
- Chrome – a web browser
- Skype – VOIP or internet telephone software
- VLC – Video file player
- Foxit Reader – a pdf document reader
- MSE virus scanner – A basic free virus scanner
- Dropbox – Syncs files and folders between PCs
- Steam – Gaming store and download system
- Revo – Unistall and system cleaning and maintence software
- WinRAR – Compression and decompression software
Once you have selected your apps, click on Get installer and follow the instructions: Download then Run. Now go grab a coffee and wait for it to finish installing all your applications.
Open Revo, a program that will do a scan of your system and will tell you everything that is installed. You will be able to go down the list and remove all the bloatware from it, for example, there is often a copy of Norton Virus that will only work for one week; you are much better off just removing it now and installing a permanent virus scanner immediately.
Sign-in and customize Apps
Sign-in to individual applications and customize it to be how you want it. Make sure your virus scanner is running and customize the settings, sync your Chrome bookmarks, log in your existing Skype account and get all your cloud saving and file sharing services up and running seamlessly.
Have fun and use it
The best thing you can do with a new laptop is to use it. Load applications, play games and adjust the settings until you know exactly what you can get out of your new machine and have it perfect for you.