Nothing holds more promise than a brand-new PC. The hardware is fresh and full of potential, the OS is clean and clutter-free, and you have nothing but pure, unadulterated storage space awaiting your precious data. It’s an exciting time, indeed. But before you start dumping old files onto your new rig willy-nilly, and downloading every shiny bauble of an app that catches your eye, take some time to consider a more measured approach to moving in. After all, you only have this opportunity once.
The way you set up your new PC now will have a lasting impact on your experience over time. Do it haphazardly, and your experience will be plagued by disorder and regret. Do it thoughtfully, though, by following the course of action we prescribe on the following pages, and you will have a machine that’s primed and ready to meet your every need from the start.
Nothing will put a crimp in your computing style quite like a Windows error. Although Microsoft's OS has gotten exponentially more stable over the years, it's still very possible for Windows system files to become corrupt. When you encounter a Windows error, your first instinct may be to back up your data, grab the ol' installation disk, and weep silently as you press the Reformat button. We're here to tell you there's another way.
What are you thankful for? It’s such a cliché statement, especially given that we’re barely past the brief period of time where we’re all allowed to indulge ourselves in vast quantities of food—leftover or otherwise.
Of course, the Thanksgiving break—if you had one—provides for a perfect time to get some home cleaning done. But I’m not just talking about dusting off your action figure collection. No, of course, all fingers point to your PC. That poor, neglected piece of equipment does nothing but provide for you, day in and day out. It’s become bloated to excess and you, realizing that there’s no time like the present, have decided to wipe it clean and start anew.
So what, pray tell, do you install first? It’s a simple question and, indeed, one with nearly a thousand answers. Look, as far as I’m concerned, you’re still on vacation. Allow me to do the work for you. For I present to you a five-course meal of applications that we should all be thankful for on some level—game-changers that, really, deserve to be installed on any system you touch, period.
If you’ve already heard of them, excellent. You’re just that ahead of the game. If not, consider this your chance to get caught up to all that is awesome in the world of freeware and open-source software.
I have a system with anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed. I also made a backup image with Acronis True Image some time ago. Now, somehow it got a bad malware infection that nothing can remove completely. The usual method is to reformat and reinstall Windows, but what if I use a clean image from Acronis to restore my system? Can that be done? Will it get rid of all the malware, or will some be left behind?
What's the first thing you're going to do after installing the Windows 7 operating system? If you live in Japan, perhaps you'll go celebrate your new, wallpaper-shifting desktop with some cardiac arrest. If you're one of the stalwarts still clinging to your XP or Vista operating system, well, you're probably going to spin your chair around in smug defiance of Microsoft's latest bit of software. And if you're a Maximum PC reader, I would hope that you're going to treat your fresh new installation of Windows 7 as an October spring cleaning of-sorts.
In fact, I urge you to. One doesn't often get a chance to reinstall an operating system from scratch. Or, rather, it's always easier to think of the hundreds of reasons why it's just not the right time to wipe-and-reinstall the contents of your primary hard drive. Resist the temptation to take the easy route. Backup your drive, give it a good format, and install Windows 7 onto your clean-as-a-whistle partition.
And once you've done that, read the rest of this article. While my colleagues at Maximum PC have given you some good first steps into your new Windows 7 world post-installation, I'd like to go one bit further and list out my typical post-installation routine for any Windows operating system. There are a number of key freeware choices that you'll want to slap onto your system to establish a baseline environment that's as efficient as it is secure--that, and you should really take this time to establish preventative measure that will keep your PC as clutter-free as can be throughout its new Windows 7 lifespan.