What shall I do with a new computer?

July 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm (computers) (, , , , , )

I’ve just bought my daughter a new laptop and so there are a number of things I always like to do to get it usable by someone in the family.

First off, being a refurbished laptop, I’d like to get it back to factory installed state – well no problems there, The supplier did that anyway, and in this case included the repair image on a second partition on the hard disk and including a factory restore DVD.
So, my todo list shapes up as follows:

  • Set up an adminstrator account for me and a standard account for my daughter.
  • Remove the default accounts (this has a ‘user’ account with no password, for adminstrator).
  • Uninstall any unwanted trial or free software – things like trial versions of security and office software.
  • Uninstall software that will be really out of date and will need updating (like Java and Adobe Acrobat reader).
  • Connect to the network and run Windows updates.  Being a refurbished laptop, this takes quite a long time – around 150 updates and a service pack to install … sigh.
  • Install MS Security Essentials – includes an update and virus scan, and setting up a regular scan – I suggest either daily with a low CPU usage (e.g. 30%) or weekly with a higher usage (but the machine isn’t always on for the weekly scan).
  • Set up parental controls.
  • Set up MS Windows Live Family Safety.
  • Install a second browser if required (e.g. firefox or chrome).
  • Reinstall standard software from the web in its latest versions (Java, Adobe reader, Infrarecorder, other MS Live programmes).
  • Install any licensed software we are entitled to from our other student purchases (we have various things bought from software4students that can be used on multiple machines).
  • If I’m feeling optimistic I might also install something like Scratch or Python – sometimes it can spark an interst in learning a bit about programing.
  • When largely complete, I’ll login as them and set up a few basics – browser home page, power plan, nice background, etc.
  • Then I might install any special case software they want – e.g. to sync to their phone or whatever.
  • Setup some kind of local, automatic (e.g. weekly) backup – if there is space, I might configure it for regular backup onto the second partition.  This naturally doesn’t protect against disk failure of being stolen, but gives some level of accidental or malicious problem recovery.
  • Perform a full system backup onto my non-local backup media (I’ll repeat this from time to time just to be safe).
  • Create some recovery disks if it seems likely this is required – it can often speed up restoring it to some kind of usable state without having to redo all of the above in the case of problems.

Finally, if this for a family member, they need the “don’t give out personal information”, “your PC is running parental controls to stop you doing anything that breaks it” and “when it tells you to update something – you must do it, as I won’t be checking it for you” talks before I let them log in.

Then I can get back to non-IT support related things to do.



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