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December 30, 2011

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What Everybody Ought to Know About New PCs (I) What Everybody Ought to Know About New PCs (I) CloudTags: New , PC , computer , technology , laptop batteries , 484170-001 battery , Toshiba pa3534u1brs batteries , Samsung nc10

What Everybody Ought to Know About New PCs (II)

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Unlike most electronic devices, which you can plug in and use instantly, PCs–particularly those with Windows–need some adjustment before they’re ready for everyday use.

However, right out of the box, no computer is perfect. Unlike most electronic devices, which you can plug in and use instantly, Windows PCs need some adjustment before they’re ready for everyday use. You need to make your new system safe, and personalize it with your own preferences. There are programs on the hard drive you should get rid of, and other things you should add immediately. If you haven’t yet been introduced to Windows 7, or it’s been a while since you’ve set up a new machine, we’ll walk you through it all in these 12 simple steps. If your new baby is a Mac, you’ve got a much shorter to-do list.

1. First Start After you’ve devised clever ways to use your new collection of Styrofoam and made the basic initial connections (power, monitor, Ethernet, keyboard and mouse), Windows 7 will ask you to do various things, like set your language, time zone, and clock and calendar. Perhaps most important request is to create a user account and password; forgo this only if you’re 110 percent sure no one else will want to gain access to this PC, ever, or if you’re so dull-asdishwater that it wouldn’t matter. For a computer that will have multiple users, this is a must.

2. De-bloat the System

Did you receive a pristine, mintWindows 7 computer this holiday season? Congratulations! I wish I could say you’re ready to go.

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Big-name system vendors typically install software on their consumer PCs at the factory. These “extras” go by many names: bundleware, begware, bloatware, shovelware, and perhaps the most accurate, crapware. That’s because a lot of it is just that: useless crap. The vendors install it under the guise of helping you out, but mostly they do it to get money from the software makers. The major system

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December 30, 2011

batteryfast.co.uk What Everybody Ought to Know About New PCs (I)

builders are reducing the amount of extra software (or at least making sure it doesn’t appear all over your system), but there is a long way to go. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find extra per-loaded software on a retail-bought consumer system, less so on a business-oriented one.

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What can you do to decrapify your new PC? Download and run the free SlimComputer or PC Decrapifier. Or try both. SlimComputer promises to use community-sourced info to find stuff you don’t want. Either will get rid of most of the crap. If you find more crapplications left behind, try Revo Uninstaller, a free utility that does more to fully eradicate errant software than the built-in Windows control panel. This is a good time to kill anything you don’t want that’s part of Windows 7 itself. Load up the control panel called Uninstall a Program (search for it from the Start menu). On the left, click “Turn Windows Features on or off.” You’ll get a User Account Control warning; click OK. Uncheck anything in the list you definitely don’t want, such as games, Tablet PC Optional Components, etc. If you don’t know what an item does, hover the cursor over the name for a description. If you still don’t know what it does, best to leave it. Don’t confuse crapware with trialware—a trial version of software you might actually want that is active for a limited time. It might be worth keeping, especially if it’s a free trial of a solid security product, which leads us to…

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3. Activate Shields

If you’re willing to pay to protect your system from malware and get some extra firewall protection to boot, we recommend you install our Editors’ Choice security package, Norton Internet Security 2011 ($69.99 direct for three licenses). Its defense against spyware and viruses is extremely effective, and its impact on system performance is minimal. If you don’t want to pay, check out Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0, the free version of Ad-Aware Pro that lacks very little. It beats all the other free software we’ve seen in our tests for malware removal. Everyone on a broadband connection needs a software firewall to control which applications on your PC can access the Internet. The firewall in your network router is not enough. When it comes to free firewall software, there are several to pick from, in particular Check Point’s ZoneAlarm Free Firewall gives all the control you might want that you can’t get from the built-in Windows Firewall. But if you don’t install a third-party firewall, make sure Windows Firewall is turned on at the very least.

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December 30, 2011

batteryfast.co.uk What Everybody Ought to Know About New PCs (I)

4. Download Updates

6. Transfer Files

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At some point, your PC will tell you there are Windows updates available, probably about five minutes after you successfully boot up. Grab those updates. You may have an icon in the system tray at the lower right, or you can select Windows Update from the main menu at the lower left (choose All Programs to find it). Depending on when Windows 7 was installed on yourcomputer, you could have quite a few updates— big updates—to download. Let this process run its course. Walk away, eat some leftovers, go out for a mocha latte, watch an Adam Sandler movie. It’s going to take a while, and the Sandler flick will seem to last forever (especially Jack and Jill). When the downloads are done, run Windows Update again. Updates tend to beget updates. Three times should be sufficient. By now, you should have a truly pristine system.

5. Ghost the Machine After something catastrophic happens, some techies prefer to reinstall from the original CDs to get a fresh start. That means going through all those updates again. Instead, back up your pristine system right now with the full, updated Windows 7 OS, so you can restore everything quickly after a disaster. Make a complete drive image (aka a ghost) of the C: drive. Windows 7 users with Home Premium on up can go to the Back up or Restore control panel and pick “Create a System Image.” Save the image to your hard drive. If it’s small enough, burn it to some DVDs, otherwise copy the image file to an external hard drive or USB flash drive for access later. You can also make images with  Norton  Ghost 15.0,Norton Ghost 15.0, Acronis True Image Home 2011, or a freebie like DriveImage XML..

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Windows 7 makes it relatively simple to move files from your old computer to the new with the Windows Easy Transfer utility. It works with various methods (external hard drive, USB flash drive, network, and transfer cable) to move not only data files and folders but also settings from your old Windows system to the new. It can even re-create your user accounts, if you want that. It does not move your old applications. To take advantage of Easy Transfer, your old PC must be running Windows 2000, XP, or Vista. You can always use old-school sneaker-net—copy files from the old PC on a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, then copy them over to your new machine—but if you’ve got a lot of files, this could take hours or days. That really big external hard drive with a USB connector you bought for backup is an option. A better solution might be to reuse the hard drive from your old computer. A USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE Adapter (about $25), like one fromStarTech, can turn an old drive into an external drive for use on your new PC. It’s just not very pretty. The home network is your slickest alternative— once you have it set up right. Go into the System control panel, click Advanced system settings, and then go to the Computer Name tab under System Properties. Click the Change button. Make sure the new computer has a name that’s unique among the

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December 30, 2011

batteryfast.co.uk What Everybody Ought to Know About New PCs (I)

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computers in the house, and that the Workgroup name is exactly the same for all the computers in the house. Otherwise, they can’t see each other to share. Go into your software firewall and check that it’s open to other PCs on your network (and that the firewalls on the other computers are open to the new PC, as well). Find the folder containing the files you want to share on the old computer, right-click on it to get Properties, and tell Windows to share the folder. On Windows 7 systems, the folder should now show up in the Network and Sharing Center when you click View computers and devices. (The HomeGroup feature in Windows 7 is great, but is only going to be useful if all your computers run Windows 7.) Avoid the temptation to buy a migration utility or some special, expensive USB cable to use with its Easy Transfer utility. Neither option is worth the money, especially for an action you’ll take only once. Consider instead something that does much more, like IOGear’s USB Laptop KVM Switch with File Transfer. It not only handles file transfers between computers but lets you switch instantly from PC to PC, using a single keyboard/monitor/mouse to control everything. For $49.95, it’s one way to ensure that both your old and your new computers remain useful.

7. Prep for Data Backup No doubt you’ve heard this a zillion times, but in case this advice hasn’t taken, I’ll repeat: A simple backup regime is great for peace of mind. Online backup serviceslike MozyHome make it painless. You can start with a free account that stores up to 2GB of data. Perfect for your unfinished novel or other small projects. (You can get unlimited online storage with Mozy for $4.95 per month.) If you’ve got multiple machines, consider one of the many services that synchronize files between computers with online backup in the middle, so you can get to files when you’re at someone else’s

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PC. Dropbox is our Editors’ Choice in this category. It supports sync between multiple Windows, Mac, and even Linux PCs, and even allows access to files via handhelds like the iPhone. Basic service is free and gives you 2 GB of online storage; it costs $9.99 a month to get 50 GB. Local backup of your data gives you more control. One option is to partition your hard drive into multiple drives—C: for the system and programs, D: for data, E: for items you don’t need to back up. That way, you can tell Windows Backup and Restore control panel to look at one drive only. Buy an external hard drive that’s at least 1.5 times larger than the data partition (a 500GB external drive to back up your 300GB partition, for example) as a target drive. Now even huge video and photo files are no big deal to back up. Simply put them in the same spot every time—always “D: for data” (for example)—and let the software do its job.

8. Geek Out The Browser Microsoft Internet Explorer—IE to it’s friends— comes with every copy of Windows in this country, but it’s far from the only choice when it comes to browsing the Web. In fact, we recently crowned a new Editors’ Choice for Web browsing: Google Chrome’s incredible speed, instant installation, customization via extensions, built in Flash and PDF support, and so much more no make it the browser to beat. And even Firefox remains a favorite, because when it comes to extensibility, Firefox wrote the book. Sure, you could go your whole life using both browsers and never change a thing, but once you install a few key extensions, you’ll wonder how you ever lived with a plain, vanilla browser. If you used Firefox on your old computer, you probably want the same settings, bookmarks, and extensions. Back up the old Firefox using freeware MozBackup, save the file to your new PC, and use MozBackup to restore. It also works with Thunderbird to back up e-mail.

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December 30, 2011

batteryfast.co.uk What Everybody Ought to Know About New PCs (I)

If you want to get anything done online, you better quickly install these helper programs no matter what browser you use, assuming they’re not already integrated at installation: QuickTime, Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Windows Media Player, and a PDF file reader.

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What Everybody Ought to Know About New PCs (I)  

Unlike most electronic devices, which you can plug in and use instantly, PCs–particularly those with Windows–need some adjustment before the...

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