Secure, Protect, and Maintain a New Computer
OVERVIEW: You will learn how to perform some essential steps on a new computer that will provide a more secure, problem free computing environment.
Protect and Care for Your New Baby
When you take a new computer out of the box, it’s like a new-born baby that needs to be protected and handled with care. There are some essential things that you should do before you bring your new baby out into the world. This article will show you how to dramatically increase the health and safety of your new computer.
The tutorial focuses on three main areas:
- Updating your WIndows Software
- Security Software
- Routine Maintenance
Updating your Windows Software
Run Windows Automatic Updates before you do anything else on your new computer. This will go out to Microsoft and install any Windows updates that affect system security and stability.
Click the Windows (Start) button, then select Control Panel from the menu.
This will open the Control Panel. There will be several options accessible from the Control Panel that will allow you to view and modify settings on your computer.
Select Turn automatic updating on and off and make sure that Automatic Updates are ON.
Then, click Check for updates to download and install all of the appropriate updates. This may take a while, depending on how many are available. After this is done, your computer will restart and updates will happen automatically. (That’s one less thing to worry about.)
There are many things that you can do to secure your computer, but I’m going to stick with some of the most basic and effective ones. You will need to set up the following:
- Firewall – Prevent people from getting into your computer.
- AntiVirus – Detect, Prevent, and Remove Viruses that can harm your computer.
- Spyware Detection and Removal – Detect and Remove Spyware that can harm your computer.
- Malware Detection and Removal – Detect and Remove Malware that can harm your computer.
Turning on the Windows Firewall
Windows XP, Vista, and 7 all come with a pretty good firewall already built in. The only thing you need to do is make sure that it is turned on. Go to the Control Panel again.
Click System and Security.
You will see a list of options. Select Check Firewall status under the Windows Firewall heading.
Make sure the the firewall is turned on.
Installing Antivirus Software
The most important security software on your computer is Antivirus protection. My favorite Antivirus software is AVG Antivirus, which happens to be free, light, and very good.
The first thing you should do after you install and launch your antivirus software is update the virus definitions. This is the latest list of bad stuff that it will look for. Click the Update Now tab and then the Update button.
Once you get the first batch of updates, it will get them automatically from now on. Click the Computer Scan tab to check your computer.
Installing Spyware Detection Software
Spyware is another threat to both your security and performance. Spybot Search & Destroy is an excellent, free spyware removal tool.
This is just like the antivirus setup. Search for the Updates and then Scan your computer.
Installing Malware Detection Software
Malware is yet another lovely type of crap that screws up your computer. MalwareBytes is a great free tool that will help you find and remove this scurge.
Yup, you guessed it! Install, Update, Scan, just like the last two tools.
Just because your computer is protected from the evil doers out there, doesn’t mean that it’s protected from itself. The longer your computer runs, the more junk, gunk, and funk will creep into the works. I use two excellent tools to perform routine maintenance on my computer: CCleaner and Defraggler.
Keeping your computer Clean and Lean
CCleaner is one of my favorite system utilities of all time. Small, simple, effictive, and free. Is that enough for you? CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner.
Use the three panels on the left side to:
- Clean junk files from your computer and browser
- Diagnose and Repair Registry problems (This is a HUGE help.)
- Uninstall Software (The right way.)
- Control which programs run when Windows starts (You’ll be amazed at what junk is chewing up your power.)
You should probably perform these steps every week or two.
Defragment Your Hard Drive to Speed Things Up
After you start using your computer for a while your hard drive starts to get fragmented. This slows down your computer’s performance. Windows has defragmentation software build right in, but the free Defraggler works better and faster.
Just select your hard drive and click the Defrag button. (This will run for a while, so kick it off when you’re not busy.)
You should run disk defragmentation about once per month.
See the Video Tutorial
If you’re not quite sure about any of the steps that are covered here, watch the following video tutorial to see and here how they work.
Getting All of That Software in One Shot
I just covered several applications that you will need to download and install on your computer. See How to Create a Bulk Software Installer in this tutorial. You will see just how easy it is to install tons of great free software on your new computer in just a few clicks.
What are Your New Computer Security and Maintenance Tips?
If you have any other good tips on what to do to a new computer, I’m all ears. Enter your best tips in the comments below.
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