PCWorld offers a list of 7 critical things to do immediately with a new PC. Whether you have a new PC or you’re trying to hang on to an old one, here’s how to tweak some of those steps to make your computer even more efficient and secure:
“The first step is by far the most tedious. You shouldn’t muck around on the web unless your copy of Windows is fully patched and up to date, period.”
Definitely make sure your new PC is running the most up-to-date version of Windows.
Tweak: Add an extra layer of protection against activity-logging spyware that Windows and many antivirus products cannot detect. Block and quarantine keystroke, screenshot, webcam, clipboard and SSL logger malware with a free trial of PerfectGuard.
“Now that you’ve slipped into something more comfortable, it’s time to get your security ducks in a row.”
PCWorld talks about keeping Windows Defender enabled or using a more robust security suite included with the pre-installed software on most PCs but they caution to do your research before coughing up the big bucks on a security product suite.
Tweak: No matter your antivirus/security suite, there are two more tweaks to strengthen your PC’s security: PerfectGuard, already mentioned above, is a malware-blocking addition to whatever security software you already use. Think of PerfectGuard as a way to close off the vulnerabilities your antivirus software misses.
The second tweak to your security is to have a disaster recovery solution in place in case your PC does get infected. InstantRescue and InstantRecovery allow you to immediately recover a safe version of your operating system without losing any of your important data! InstantRescue is a simplified solution which allows you to boot into a single Rescue Area and it automatically selects the files and folders in your My Documents, My Pictures, My Music and My Videos folders for recovery. InstantRecovery allows you to store up to 10* different recovery snapshots (*in the Business Edition, up to 5 snapshots in the Home Edition) to boot into in the case of a system failure and it allows you to select any data you want to be able to recover as well. In the case of a system infection, or if your system is unbootable, InstantRescue and InstantRecovery allow you to boot into a safe version of your system in a matter of seconds.
“Clean out the crap”
It’s a good idea to uninstall all the bloatware that you don’t plan on using, especially anything that launches on Start Up, as this can slow your boot time.
Tweak: You can go two steps further cleaning out the clutter from your hard drive and get a performance boost from both. When you remove programs from your computer, your system may be left with fragmented free space. This means when you create new data on your PC, a single file could be saved in multiple locations on your disk and this slows down file access and performance when using your PC. PerfectDisk automatically defragments fragmented files and free space, leaving you with an efficiently running machine, and with its StealthPatrol feature, PerfectDisk can be set to run only when your system is idle. Bonus: PerfectDisk can extend the life of your HDD or SSD by reducing writes to your drive.
The second tweak to boost performance is internally defragmenting and compacting your Windows registry. Internal registry defragmentation is entirely different than the file and free space defrag that PerfectDisk performs. PerfectRegistry cleans out the clutter that uninstalled programs leave behind in your registry, providing error-free performance and faster boot times.
“Why’d we scrape all that junk out? To make room for your own stuff, silly. New hardware just begs for software to match!”
Install your preferred programs.
Tweak: Any time you install a new application you need to make sure the proper drivers are installed to make that program work on your new operation system. A lot of installed programs can translate into a lot of drivers you need to find, download and install, and hope that the driver you install is the one that is compatible with your system. PerfectUpdater automatically scans your system for all outdated drivers and allows you to install each (or all drivers in one swoop) direct from the original manufacturer with the click of a button, eliminating the wild goose chase aspect of this task. Even better, PerfectUpdater lets you backup and restore drivers in case the manufacturer-provided driver update is not compatible with your system.
“Now that your PC’s in fighting shape it’s an ideal time to create a clone or image of your primary hard drive—the one Windows boots from—and save it to another hard drive.”
Yes, a backup plan. As PCWorld puts it: “Having an image of your system in its current updated, bloatware free, customized state prevents you from having to do all that legwork over again if you ever have to reinstall Windows for any reason.”
Tweak: Create a bootable snapshot of your operating system, installed applications and all the data you want to be able to restore in the case of a failed system update, virus attack or other software-related system corruption. Instead of taking your unbootable PC to the repair shop to have someone try to recover your system and data, get back up and running yourself in a matter of seconds with InstantRescue (simple solution) or InstantRecovery (advanced solution) and recover all selected data in its most recent state. No data loss. Windows System Restore can’t do that!
“Update your drivers”
Although the 7th tip is listed as optional by PCWorld, it is the 7th of the “7 critical things to do with your new PC” so it’s probably not as optional as you’d think. It’s probably listed as optional because, as PCWorld puts it, “This step isn’t for everyone. Few things can introduce troublesome ghosts in your machine faster than a driver that refuses to play nice for whatever reason.”
Tweak: Fortunately we’ve got a shortcut that makes this critical step easy for everyone to do. Even PCWorld says “Windows Update isn’t always on the bleeding edge of driver updates” and you can’t always expect vendors to notify you when an update is available. Mentioned above, PerfectUpdater scans your system for any outdated drivers that have an original manufacturer update available and provides a list of available driver updates, which you can click on one-by-one to install each update or update all drivers at once. And the backup and restore option allows you to revert back to an older driver if the new one is incompatible with your system.