Set Up And Get To Know Your New Windows PC

After years of struggling with your old, sluggish Windows PC, you've finally unwrapped a shiny new computer. Here's how to get started tweaking your settings, installing programs, and beefing up security to keep it running like a dream.

Photo remixed from an original by Jennifer C.

Before you do anything, there are a few things you'll want to set up first:

  • Install Microsoft Security Essentials—Let's not sugarcoat it: Because of its popularity, Windows is one of the more vulnerable operating systems, so before you do anything, you'll want to put a few security measures in place. Microsoft Security Essentials is still the best darn antivirus we've used, it's free, and it just came out with a new version boasting even more virus-killing power. Head over to Microsoft's site, download the suite, and set it to auto-scan and auto-update so you can stop fussing with it and get on to the fun stuff.
  • Offload Your Computer's Bloat—Unless you built your computer yourself, it's likely the manufacturer's stuck some unsightly, unnecessary, bloated crapware on your computer that will do nothing but slow your computer down from the start. To get rid of it, download Revo Uninstaller and uninstall the software that shipped with your machine.
  • Change Up Your Theme—Okay, so it's not entirely necessary to do this before anything else, but why stare at that bland Windows wallpaper when you could be watching a slideshow of different Ferraris as you set up the rest of your computer? Microsoft's got some great themes over at its site, and there are quite a few others floating around the net as well. If you want to take it even further, check out our guide to fully customising your desktop. Once you've got your desktop looking awesome, it's time to get to know Windows 7.

Install Some Killer Programs

Now that you're computer's secure, speedy and looking awesome, it's time to install some great software. Here are a few places you can find our favourite Windows programs.

  • Lifehacker Pack for Windows: Our List of the Best Free Windows DownloadsLooking for the best programs to keep you connected, get you organized, and amp up your productivity? Our annual Lifehacker Pack has a one-package installer for all our favourite Windows software.
  • Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2010Apart from our list of essential programs, there are also some really neat pieces of software we've featured over the past year. If you want to know the cool programs everyone's talking about, our 2010 list of the most popular free Windows downloads is the place to look.

Adjust Settings and Tweak Your System

While we've already done a handy list of the top 10 things to do with a new Windows 7 system, here are some of the other things you might want to check out to customise your new PC.

We hope these tips have helped you get your computer up, running, and customised just the way you like it. If you're already a Windows veteran and you've got some tips that we haven't mentioned, be sure to share them with us in the comments.


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