New Computer? 8-Step Guide to a Perfect Set Up
Windows PCs need some adjustment before they're ready for everyday use. Here's what to install, what to delete, and how to make sure your new investment is safe and secure.
Setting up a new Windows computer is more than just turning it on and getting started. It's about making it yours and ensuring it's secure and efficient. Consider it a new home; you wouldn't just move in without setting up locks and arranging furniture.
This guide will walk you through 10 essential steps to make your new computer safe, personalized, and ready for all your needs.
1) Before you turn the laptop on, fully charge the battery
To get the most out of your battery life, Acer recommends following this conditioning process when you use the battery for the first time:
- Fully charge the battery before you turn the computer on.
- Once fully charged, leave the AC adapter plugged in while you turn on the computer and complete setting it up.
- Once the setup is complete, unplug the AC adapter and use the computer while using battery power only until you see the warning for a low battery.
- Connect the AC adapter again until the battery is fully charged.
- Repeat steps 3 to 5 until you've fully charged and charged the battery three times.
Also, check your user manual for the exact guide to maximizing your battery life.
2) Install and/or update Windows 11
You must update the system before surfing the web or playing games. Your computer's been in transit for a while and is not up-to-date with all the security patches you need. So here's what you've got to do:
- Charge Up and Plug In: Make sure your battery is fully charged and keep it plugged in. You don't want to run out of juice during an update.
- Connect to the Internet: Set up Internet access for your computer - so you can download the latest updates and patches.
- Update Windows: You need to have the latest version installed. Windows 11 is now the standard, as Windows 10 will reach end of support on October 14, 2025.
- Follow the Wizard: The Windows Setup wizard will guide you. Follow the prompts, and don't forget to connect to the internet first.
- Find the Updates: Click Start > Settings > Windows Update or Update and Security. Follow the steps to download and install.
- Reboot and Repeat: Some updates need a restart. Keep going until there are no more updates left.
- Automate for the Future: You want to keep your computer safe, right? So make sure you've got automatic updates turned on. Go to: Settings > Windows Update > Advanced Options. Enable Receive updates from other Microsoft products and Download updates over metered connections.
- Need Help? Microsoft's got your back. Check out their setup and installation guide.
And that's it! Now you're ready to rock with a safe and secure computer.
3) Install and update drivers
Fingers crossed, those Windows updates you've just completed will have found all the drivers your computer needs, but just in case you happened to skip attaching a device when those updates went down, and now you're thinking about plugging in an external Graphics Processing Card or jamming out with your Bluetooth headphones, no worries! You can still make those connections happen.
- Plug in the device. If it's Bluetooth, make it available to find.
- Select Start > Settings > Devices > Add device and follow the prompts.
Turn on automatic app updates. Here's how:
- Choose Start > Microsoft Store.
- In the Store app, select Account > App settings.
- Turn on App updates.
4) Set up security software
Windows 10 and 11 come with a free built-in tool called Windows Security, which includes:
- Microsoft Defender Antivirus: Get always-on antivirus protection that works in real-time.
- Microsoft Defender SmartScreen: warns you of malicious websites, files, or apps before they cause harm.
Windows Security is good at keeping malware away with real-time protection, but you'll need to ensure it's set up up:
- Go to Settings: Click Start > Settings > Update and Security.
- Manual Scan Modes: You can also run advanced manual scans. Pick between Quick Scan, Full Scan, or Microsoft Defender Offline Scan. The last one even restarts your PC to dig deep for hidden malware.
- Need More? If you want additional protection, consider downloading another antivirus tool. We've covered the 5 best Antivirus options.
And that's it! Your computer's now more secure, and you can confidently use it.
5) Uninstall bloatware
Bloatware is the unwanted software that comes pre-installed on your computer. It's not just useless; it takes up space and can slow things down. Here's how to get rid of it:
- Find the Culprits: Go to Start > Settings > Apps. Look for things like trialware, games, and toolbars you don't need.
- Uninstall with Care: Click Uninstall on the ones you don't want, but be careful not to remove anything important. If it has the computer manufacturer's name, it might be essential.
- Check the Start Menu: Some bloatware might not be in the Apps list. Right-click on unwanted icons in the Start menu and select Uninstall.
And that's it! Your computer should now be free of unnecessary clutter, running smoother, and ready for action. Read our removing bloatware guide for a more in-depth how-to.
6) Personal settings
Were you tired of your old computer not working or looking how you wanted it? Here's how to tweak the settings to fit your style and needs:
- Accessibility Needs: Adjust fonts, sounds, and more at Start > Settings > Ease of Access.
- Language and Time: Set your preferred language, date, and time at Start > Settings > Time & Language.
- Color and Display: Want a unique look? Customize colors and more at Start > Settings > System.
- Privacy Control: Decide which apps can access your location, camera, and other personal data at Start > Settings > Privacy.
With Windows 11, you can enable Voice Commands to speed up your workflow.
Remember, this is your computer. Set it up your way, and don't be afraid to experiment. You can always change things later!
7) Install your favorite browser and other apps
Your computer, your rules. While you're on a roll with setting up your computer to operate how you want it to, and you've cleared out the apps the manufacturer thought you'd like, now is the right time to install the ones you want.
- Choose your favorite browser. So what if Microsoft says Edge works best with Windows 11? If you have a penchant for Firefox, then now's the time to install it and make it the default. You can always switch later.
- Games: Forget the pre-installed ones. Get the games you actually want to play.
- Office Tools: Find the software that suits how much writing, calculations, presentations, finances, and communication you like to do. As well as freeware, consider the standard programs that will gel with others you collaborate with.
Need ideas? Check out our 7 essential programs for a new Windows PC. Make your computer a reflection of you!
8) Create a backup/install a file recovery program
If malware or spyware highjack your computer or files are accidentally deleted – think photos or the last assignment you haven't submitted yet – everyone needs to back up. Here's how to set it up:
- Windows Backup: Windows 11 has you covered. Just go to Start > Settings > Accounts > Windows backup and follow the steps. You'll need an external drive.
- Other Options: Consider these for extra security:
- Free storage from your email program
- File transfer programs
- Flash drives or external hard drives
- Subscription services that handle backups for you
Remember, the golden rule is to back up in three different places. Need more tips? Check out our Best Ways to Back Up Your Data (2023). Make sure your files are safe and sound!
Your new computer now reflects you, tailored to your needs. With your new computer set up just how you like, you can explore, create, and enjoy. Remember to repurpose that old PC. Good luck with your new adventure.
Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.