Did you get a new computer during the holidays, or are you getting one this tax season? If so, here are a couple things to keep in mind.
Transfer over your files and programs: If you’re replacing an older computer, you’ll likely want to transfer files and programs over to the new one. Though you can’t really transfer programs over to another computer, you can install them onto the new computer with a CD or download.
For programs you’ve paid for already, you can try to install them without purchasing again. If the program requires a product key, such as Microsoft Office, and you don’t have that anymore, then you may be able to still reinstall by retrieving the product key from the old computer.
Securely wipe your old hard drive: Your old computer likely contains files and data you don’t want others to access, such as tax documents and saved passwords. Thus before getting rid of the computer you should ensure the files your old hard drive are unrecoverable. You can securely delete or wipe them with special software. However if it’s going into the trash, you could alternatively remove the hard drive and physically damage it beyond use. Smashing it or taking a hammer to it may just help you relieve your pent-up computer frustrations, as well.
Install a good antivirus: Though your computer will likely come with an antivirus program installed, you should ensure it’s a good one. Independent testing organizations, such as AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives, can give you an idea of how well antivirus programs compare in regards to their level of protection. My favorite is Bitdefender, which usually one of the top performers in these tests.
Install a secondary malware scanner: Viruses certainly aren’t the only bad things you can pickup from the Internet. Adware, spyware and other malware can appear like viruses to you while not being stopped by most antivirus software. Thus to protect against these types of malware, consider installing a secondary malware scanner that can run alongside your antivirus. My favorite is MalwareBtyes.
Setup backup: If you previously had a backup solution running on your old computer, you want to set it up on your new one right away so you don’t forget. If you didn’t previously have a backup solution, this is the time to set one up so you don’t lose those invaluable documents, photos, and other files.
Make a recovery drive: New computers usually don’t come with any recovery or restore discs. That information is held on a special part of the hard drive in case you have to do a factory restore later. However, if your hard drive fails, you’ll lose that recovery option. Starting with Windows 8, you can create a separate recovery drive using a flash drive: go to the Start screen and type “recovery” there. The utility will copy the recovery information from your hard drive to the flash drive, so you can use the flash drive later to restore your computer to another hard drive if necessary.
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Eric Geier is the owner of On Spot Techs, which provides on-site computer repair and IT services at homes and businesses in the Dayton, Springfield and Northern Cincinnati areas. For more information, visit www.onspottechs.com or call 937-315-0286.