The excitement that comes with buying a new laptop usually means you can’t wait to switch it on and start using it, but that’s not always the best idea.
A brand new laptop won’t necessarily be properly configured to protect you online, for example, and there may be unwanted software installed that you should uninstall before you do anything else.
So once you’ve switched on, activated Windows and created a system restore disc (though not all laptops offer this), here are the next 6 things you should do.
Incidentally, this advice only applies to laptops with Windows 10 preinstalled. If you buy a laptop with Windows 8, read our separate guide for that.
Step 1: Turn on System Protection
Windows 10 disables System Protection by default, so if something happens to cause a problem with Windows, you won’t be able to ‘undo’ it. So before you do anything else — and that includes connecting the laptop to your home network — type system protection in the Taskbar search box and select Create a restore point from the list of results.
When the System Properties dialog box opens, select your Windows drive (usually C:) and click the Configure button.
Then, on the next dialog box, enable Turn on system protection and click OK.
Tip 2: Run Windows Defender
Although rare, it’s not unknown for new laptops to ship with malware already installed on their hard drive, so a quick check before you start using yours is recommended. Type defender in the Taskbar search box and select Windows Defender from the list of results.
When Windows Defender opens, select the Quick option and click the Scan now button. Since your laptop isn’t yet connected to your network, Windows Defender’s malware definitions probably won’t be up to date, but this is better than nothing at this stage.
Many BT broadband customers can download NetProtect Plus anti-virus software at no charge, check out the box below to find out more.
Step 3: Review Windows 10’s privacy settings
Windows 10 has a handful of privacy settings that are questionable, at best. These are only potentially problematic when you’re online, when certain information about you and your PC will be shared with Microsoft, so it’s best to review and disable any you don’t like before connecting your laptop to your home network.
There’s too much to cover here, so read out two guides on Windows 10: How to stop giving away personal information and WiFi Sense in Windows 10: Everything you need to know before going any further.
Tip 4: Uninstall unwanted software
Many manufacturers fill their PCs with all manner of software and most of it — to put it politely — isn’t much use. So before going online with your laptop, remove any software you think you won’t use, since some may interfere with the way Windows works when it’s online.
Go to Start – Settings – System – Apps and features and look through the list. Anything from Microsoft Corporation is worth leaving for now, since it’s probably part of Windows 10 and potentially useful.
Apps worth removing are any that are labelled as ‘trials’, since you’ll need to pay to continue using them. That goes double for anti-malware trials, since Windows 10 has effective anti-malware built in.
Leave anything you’re not sure about until you’re online and can search to find out what it is.
Tip 5: Run Windows Update
Now it’s time to connect your laptop to your home network. But before you do anything else online, run Windows Update by going to Start – Settings – Update & security – Windows Update – Check for updates.
Windows Update will run automatically anyway, but if you’re laptop hasn’t been sitting in a warehouse for a few weeks, it may have missed any important updates in the meantime. Microsoft is also still adding major new features to Windows 10 this early in its life cycle and those are worth installing, too. Windows Defender will also be updated as part of this process.
Tip 6: Set up other user accounts
If more than one person uses your PC, it’s a bad idea to let them all share the same user account. If nothing else, it will be hard to keep any documents you create separately, but mixing other files and settings can also make Windows much more complicated to use.
So it’s advisable to create a separate user account for each person who’ll use your PC — and create limited Standard user accounts rather than all-powerful Administrator ones.
Go to Start – Settings – Accounts – Family & other users to add new user accounts. You’ll need to supply an email address for each new user you want to add, including children.
Have you bought a new laptop with Windows 10? Let us know in the Comments section below.