Whether you’re finally replacing your old Windows XP or Vista machine, your system crashed, or you’re simply getting another computer, here are some things to do after getting unpacking that new system:
Install a good antivirus
Though Windows 10 comes with basic antivirus protection, you should really consider installing something better. Independent testing organizations, such as AV-TEST (www.av-test.org) and AV-Comparatives (www.av-comparatives.org), can give you an idea of how antivirus programs compare in regards to how well they detect and stop viruses. My favorite antivirus is Bitdefender (www.bitdefender.com), which is usually one of the top performers in these tests.
Install a secondary malware scanner
Viruses certainly aren’t the only bad things you can pick up 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 Antimalware (www.malwarebytes.com).
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 simply copy programs over to another computer, you can install them onto the new computer with the install disc (if you still have it) or download them from the vendor’s website.
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, that you don’t have any more, you may be able to still reinstall by retrieving the product key from the old computer. If you’re not sure how to do that, contact a computer tech like myself.
Set up 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. If you ever have a system crash, bad virus, or physical disaster like a fire, you don’t want to lose those important documents, photos, and other files.
I suggest backing up to an external or secondary hard drive using the File History feature of Windows 10 and then I also recommend paying for online backup as well so your data is protected from physical disasters and theft. If you only can or want to invest in one method, I suggest doing the online backup.
Securely destroy the data on your old hard drive
If you’re getting rid of a computer, don’t forget it likely contains files and data you don’t want others to access. This could be tax documents, medical records, financial statements, and saved website passwords. Thus, before getting rid of a computer you should ensure the files your old hard drive aren’t recoverable.
A computer tech like myself can securely delete or wipe a drive with special software. However, if the computer is going into the trash you could physically damage the hard drive. Stabbing it with a screwdriver or taking a hammer to it just might help you relieve your pent-up computer frustrations, as well. When you’re done, you can be more environmental friendly by taking the computer to a proper disposal or recycling site. I typically drop off old computers to the Montgomery County Solid Waste Transfer Station at 1001 Encrete Lane in Moraine.