Five Things You Must Do On Your Computer Running Windows 7

by on September 11, 2012

Q: What should I do to to my new computer running Windows 7 before I start using?

A: It is that time of year again where students head back to school and people start buying new computers. If you bought a new computer, received a computer, or just want to make sure that your computer is setup securely then you are in the right place! We are going to give you the top 5 things you need to do to your computer to make sure it is safe and we will even throw in 2 extra hints about keeping your data safe!

1. Install another web browser. Lets face it, your computer is useless without access to the web. If something happens to your one and only web browser then your computer becomes useless. You will need to use a friends computer to download the piece of software you need to fix your computer and then you need to find a way to transfer that software from their computer to your computer; using a thumb drive or DVD being the most popular methods. Save yourself a lot of time and hassle by making sure you have multiple web browsers installed on any computer you use. I suggest having at least three web browsers installed but two is certainly the minimum. Here is a short list of web browsers you can use Google ChromeFireFox, Safari, and Opera.

2. Install antivirus software. You need to have an antivirus program to protect yourself and your computer from the virus creators that love wrecking havoc on other peoples lives. We suggest using Microsoft Security Essentials because it does a good job, it is free, it is created by Microsoft so it integrates well, and it protects against more than just viruses. There are other options out there but remember not all antivirus software is created equal. There are some really bad pieces of software that will try to charge you money for each virus it removes and then there is really good software that will just do its job. Make sure you know what you are getting into before you download any software to your computer.

3. Turn on your firewall. Windows 7 comes with a built in firewall that does the job and it is enabled by default. You will want to make sure you know how to get to your firewall settings and verify that your firewall is indeed on. I also suggest understanding your firewall settings so that you have a better understanding of what your firewall is doing.

4. Add a safe user. A safe user is an account that has administrative privileges that you will hopefully never have to use. The idea behind the account is if something happens to your main account(s) then another account exists that was setup on day 1 when your computer had no problems. It will allow you to either fix your existing accounts, delete them, or create new accounts instead of having to do a full system restore. This is not a guest account! You should not let anyone use this account. Microsoft has a great video on how to create a new user in Windows 7 that you can follow. You will want to select “My computer is in a workgroup”. You will probably want to name the user “safe user” and make sure to select “Administrator” when you get to the account type.

5. Make a restore disk. Most computers do not come with the operating system on a DVD anymore. To save money the manufacturers put the information on your hard drive and require that you make a DVD yourself. This isn’t a big deal until it is a big deal. Make sure you follow the manufacturers instructions to create this restore DVD. Unfortunately I cannot give specific information on how to do this because all manufacturers instructions are slightly different. Your manufacturer will include detailed information on how to do this though so I suggest following it. You might even want to follow it 2 or 3 times so that you have a few extra copies just in case. Windows 7 is costly and if something happens to your computer that causes you to have to reinstall Windows 7 you don’t want to be stuck buying it again. Sometimes you can reach out to the manufacturer and for a fee they will send you a DVD. You will save yourself a lot of time and trouble if you just make this DVD on your own.

Optional

6. Create a backup routine. Most people buy external USB hard drives that come with backup software to keep their data safe. This is a great solution if you either keep it connected all the time and use the automated software to backup your system or if you remember to connect it often. If you aren’t going to do that then there are online solutions like mozy and carbonite

7. Setup a guest account. Someone some day will ask you if they can use your computer. If you are lucky the computer will be in good shape when they are done but in most cases people that use your computer will either change a setting to make it act how they want it to act or they might end up downloading something that causes harm to your computer. It is a good idea to create a new user (click on he link that says “My computer is in a workgroup”), with standard privileges, that you will let your friends and family use. This way if they do something then it should not effect your account. It will also make it so they don’t have access to your personal information. Also if something ever goes wrong with the account you can just delete it and make a new one.