You have received your new computer or laptop over Christmas and are excited to start using it, however a new PC isn’t like a new car; you can’t just turn a key and put the pedal to the metal. Okay, maybe you can—but you shouldn’t. We have listed below some of the things you can do to increase the performance and ensure you are adequately protected.

Watch this video on how to do the basic setup

Remember to Run Windows Updates

The first step is by far the most tedious. You shouldn’t muck around on the web unless your copy of Windows is fully patched and up to date, period. Now for the bad news: Depending on how long your PC sat on the retail shelf, this could take minutes—or hours. Either way, it has to get done.

windows update
Keep updating Windows until it says you’re all caught up.

First, make sure your PC’s connected to the internet. In Windows 10, open the Start menu and head to Settings Update and security > Check for Updates. Your system will search for updates, and find some. Download and install them, then reboot your computer and do it again… and again… and again… until the update check fails to return new entries. Hopefully it won’t take too long, but in worst-case scenarios updating a new computer can take an hour or more.

Set up your new PC’s security

windows security
For extra security we recommend using a paid version Malwarebytes

Windows ships with Windows Security enabled by default unless your laptop or desktop includes a third-party antivirus trial. Windows Security is a solid, if not overly detailed solution that’s dead-simple to use, great at sniffing out malware, and probably good enough for most people.

Clean your computer’s bloatware

You can skip this step if you built your own Windows PC. Straight Windows installations don’t come with excess junk cluttering up your hard drive. But boxed PCs from big-name PC makers are inevitably brimming with bloatware.

add remove programs

The easiest way to jettison the junk is by typing “Add and remove programs” into the Windows search box, then selecting the option that appears at the top of the results. Go through the list and uninstall any unwanted programs. Don’t delete apps from your hardware’s makers—leave software from the likes of Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Microsoft, and HP or Lenovo alone, for example—but feel free to wipe out any bundleware you see. Some of the most commonly preinstalled apps are antivirus trials, Dropbox, Candy Crush, Netflix, Spotify, “App Collections,” and others.

Back up your new computer

After all that, your PC is finally ready to rock: It’s safe, up to date, scrubbed free of junk, and full of software fine-tuned to meet your specific needs.

Now it’s time to setup your backups, including the system backup. This video will go through and show you how to setup your initial backup and then your scheduled backups