Friday, March 13, 2015
Tech Tips: Things to Do Immediately With Your New PC
A new PC is not like a new car; you cannot just turn a key and put the pedal to the metal. Performing just a few simple activities when you first fire it up is crucial and can help it be safer, faster, and better poised for the future. Here are the five important things you should do whenever you buy a new PC.
1: Save Your Serial Number
A serial number is a unique, identifying number or group of numbers and letters assigned to an individual piece of hardware or software. Your new computer has a serial number on the bottom or the back, and you'll probably need this one day. So they can often wear off over time, especially on a laptop—plus sometimes they're just not easy to access when you're using the PC.
While you're unboxing, take a picture of that serial number and toss it into Evernote or your favorite Cloud Storage Service. This number is probably on the box and much easier to read than the number of the device. If it's a Windows PC, you may also want to grab a snapshot of your Windows license key, too, in case you ever need to reinstall.
2: Create a Recovery Disc or Drive
Recovery Drive or Drive is meant for those who do not have a bootable Windows 8/8.1 DVD. This is a common case as there is no DVD bundled with computers that have Windows 8 or 8.1 preinstalled. Speaking of reinstalling, there may come a time where something goes wrong and you need to start from scratch.
Some computers may come with recovery CDs or drives, but many these days don't. Ordering CDs from places like Dell, HP and Lenovo takes both time and money, so if your computer didn't come with recovery media, make your own now. Mac users can create a USB stick of your operating system following these instructions, and Windows users can follow this guide.
3: Check Your Surge Protector
Surge protectors offer some level of protection against power spikes. How much and how well varies considerably. Depending on how often you have power surges, your surge protector can actually lose effectiveness over time. That flashing amber light on there isn't there for special effects and probably shouldn't be flashing. If it's flashing, now's a good time to get a new one.
Heck, if you don't know when you bought it and how much surge you are protected against, now could be a good time to get a better one. One of these would be a good start.
4: Add It to Your Homeowner's or Renter's
Speaking of protection, you may want some insurance for your new device, especially if it's more valuable than the average PC. If you already have homeowner's or renter's insurance, most insurance companies will allow you to schedule a computer so you've got additional protection independent of your main policy. Scheduling an item will often cover mishaps not covered under the main policy and often has an independent cheaper deductible.
5: Set a Reminder for Your Warranty Expiration
Don't you just hate it when your computer has a problem and you find out it's just barely out of warranty? Put a reminder in your calendar now for a few days before your warranty expires. So that way, you won't get caught in the "I'm too busy and now it's too late" trap.
So these are just some of the more hardware-oriented things you should be doing. You should also make sure you've audited all your passwords, set up some good antivirus, and prepared your computer for heavy use—but hopefully you'll remember these boring-but-important things as well.