So you’ve just unboxed a new computer. That glossy screen feels like a blank slate of literal possibilities, right? To get started on the right foot, there are a few important things you need to do to get your system ready. Once you’ve popped all the bubble wrap, here are the first steps you should take.
First things first: download the latest updates
Here’s a surprise: Your brand-spanking-new computer is already out of date! Developers continuously fix and improve all the code that makes your system work. Because your computer has been sitting on a store shelf somewhere, offline and disconnected from the world (…must be nice), there are probably a ton of updates to download.
There’s nothing exciting about this part, but it’s important. Who knows, they might’ve found a new Y2K bug.
Assuming you’ve already connected to the internet, all you need to do is run Windows Update. Either type Windows Update in the Start menu, or navigate to it by heading to Settings > Updates and security. Be patient and let Windows do its thing. Take a breather, make a cup of coffee. Your PC will probably need to restart once or twice.
After it’s done, Windows will automatically update whenever it needs to.
Get rid of the unwanted junk
Here’s the next unwanted surprise: The pristine, blank slate of your new PC might already be littered with bloatware. Bloatware is what people call all the cheesy, useless apps that come pre-installed. There might be a free trial of anti-virus software or maybe the latest Candy Crush game that you didn’t ask for, and it’s all just taking up space. Hence the name bloatware.
A quick way to pinpoint what to uninstall is the aptly named PC Decrapifier. It’s a free tool that looks at all the software you have installed and recommends what to remove based on other users’ feedback.
If you want more control and have dealt with bloatware before, you can manually choose what to remove by navigating to Settings > Apps.
You’ll see a list of everything installed and can click any app if you want to uninstall it. (The majority are just normal parts of how Windows 10 works, so don’t uninstall everything just because you don’t recognize the name.)
Downloading your favorite apps
Now for the fun stuff: actually downloading the apps that you do want.
I like to use a free tool called Ninite. It bundles all sorts of free software together all at once so that you don’t have to search for each program individually. You can download web browsers, media players, image editors, word processors, and more just by selecting them on the Ninite site:
A lot of this stuff is a little nerdy, but at the very least you’ll probably want to download Google Chrome or Firefox. I’d grab Spotify for music, VLC for video (it’s a useful media player that will play anything you throw at it), and maybe Steam if you’re into gaming. Pick and choose! It’s a veritable buffet of PDF readers. And if you’re not already using a password manager, you should download one so that you can easily access all your passwords on your new computer and every other device you own.
With that, you’re on your way. There are plenty more tweaks you can make to customize Windows 10, but these are the biggest first steps you should take when a new PC lands on your doorstep.