Having a new device is such a good feeling. The unboxing, unwrapping, and pushing that on switch for the first time are all very exciting moments! And if your new laptop is suited to your exact needs, a powerful, faster, and generally better experience is waiting for you.
Laptops have become an important device for millions. Of course, desktops and tablets are present in many homes and offices too. But laptops, due to their portability and possibilities, are the preferred work tool in a lot of companies around the world. The online needs of the current world have also extended their use to all types of students; from children getting to grips with early learning skills to professionals earning university degrees.
The range of laptop users is broad. However, there’s more to using a laptop than just plugging it in and turning it on. Of course, there are the basic settings such as country, language, password, etc., but there are some extra steps you should do with your new laptop to protect its security, your data, and to extend its lifespan (Ad yes, that last point is possible and a great way to make your investment worth it!)
1. Try the manufactured test mode
The manufactured test mode is software designed to test all the hardware within the laptop (display, speakers, keys, CPU, GPU, RAM, etc.). It will help you check if everything works, and to detect issues like a dead pixel on the screen. This is only one example of a manufacturing defect that users can’t fix. It could be the result of a transportation issue, however now is the best time for you to detect such problems and use your warranty.
2. Take the initial configuration seriously
We’ve already talked about the excitement that a brand-new laptop brings. When you start it, consider the information you will enter as important. Sometimes, people do it quickly just to finish this step and directly explore the laptop’s functions and software.
sIf you forget the e-mail address, hints, and passwords you choose during the beginning stages, you won’t be able to update, download and install new software, connect, or allow access to other devices, or open your session. With it being a new device, users think such tasks are far in the future. Big mistake, they can be closer than expected.
And yes, such information can be recovered or changed but it will take you extra time. To trust your memory for these little tasks is not a good idea. Currently, we use passwords and hints for so many different purposes, it’s easy to forget a new one, and with a single typo, nothing will work. Take your time to finish the initial configuration. Write the information down and keep it in a safe place you remember will save you time and a lot of frustration.
3. Look for software updates
Yes, your laptop is new but that only means you’re its first user – not that it was manufactured yesterday. The time between its creation, leaving the factory, its arrival at the shop where you bought it and the moment you start it could be months and months. Software like its Operating System (OS), is constantly being updated. This is a major update. If you download the newest OS update, you’re sure to have the latest security improvements and features.
The process varies based on your distro. In some, like Ubuntu, you just go to the Show Applications icon on your desktop and look for Update Manager. There you will find out if there are pending updates. Other distros, like Chrome OS, automatically run the updates in the background if the Wi-Fi connection is good enough. There’s a chance, a distro requires a manual process.
Go directly to the App Store and there you can check the latest update of macOS. If needed, download it, and install it. You can also go to the Apple menu and click on System Preferences, then on Software Update.
Windows 11 users
Go straight to Settings, then look for Update & Security, after you will see Windows Update. There click on Check for Updates. If there are updates, Windows will run automatically the installation process downloading them and restarting the system for finishing properly the installation.
4. Remove apps you don’t need
While checking all the interesting features your brand-new laptop offers, explore the software it has. Pre-installed apps that don’t fit your needs could be there. If you don’t need, you’d be better off remove them because they take up space and consume system resources. Some may even be draining your battery.
Windows is more prone to such by default included apps, than macOS or Linux. You can release some useful space for software you really need or to have better performance.
To remove apps you don’t need, sometimes it’s as simple as going to the Control Panel and clicking on the Add/Remove programs option. But in some cases, they can’t be deleted easily and you may need to use a third-party tool to do it.
Windows 11 users
Press the Windows key and scroll to see the apps. Right-click and uninstall those you don’t want.
5. Install reliable antivirus
This recommendation becomes more important every day due to the crazy increase in digital threats. All types of malware and spyware are a constant threat and anybody can be a target, not just big companies. No matter if your brand-new laptop is for personal use or for your work, it will contain sensitive data you want to keep protected.
Windows users have the built-in Microsoft Defender. It runs in the background, scanning the files for your safety. If you are Linux or macOS user, consider an antivirus too. Nowadays, it is better not to underestimate the risk. There are different third-party solutions you could check.
6. Configure backups
It’s better to be prepared in the tragic case that something happens to your beautiful brand-new laptop. It could be stolen or broken, or someone may accidentally spill coffee on it. The loss of the hardware will be painful, but it can be worse if you also lose all your data. Backing up must be a regular safety practice. Nowadays, it doesn’t involve only saving the data from your laptop on a portable hard drive, but a more complete strategy. This means using more than a single backup choice to be safer.
You have different alternatives. Backup-as-a-service (B-a-a-S) is an efficient and popular one. It allows you to backup all your data in the cloud with the big advantages of being always available, safe in off-site storage, and you can configure (schedule) regular and automated backups. If you want to know more about B-a-a-S, check this link.
And if you want orientation to define an efficient backup strategy, you can read “Is the 3-2-1 backup rule still valid?”.
7. Encrypt your laptop’s hard drive
Encrypting your laptop’s hard drive is another safe practice you shouldn’t skip. Soon, you will store their vital documents and information you don’t want to risk. This will limit the access only to you.
You have different tools but LUKS, Linux Unified Key Setup, is a standard technology for hard drive encryption. It encrypts SSDs, removable storage drives, and hard disk drives. You can use it on the whole drive, before you install a Linux distro, or after, for a particular partition that you want to be extra protected.
macOS provides you with File Vault as a tool for encryption of your data on the startup disk. First look for the System Preferences option, after that, Security & Privacy, then click on File Vault to turn it on. Your credentials will be required to enable the File Vault. When enabled, you’ll have to pick a recovery choice. The objective is for you to have two ways to unlock it if needed. For instance, with your iCloud or with a specially generated recovery key. Already on, the encryption will occur in the background when your laptop is awake.
Go to System, then the Storage option and Disks & Volumes, and there choose the hard drive. Click on its Properties, then Activate BitLocker and follow the steps to configure it and establish your password. At the end of the process, the system will restart, and you can check the disk is already encrypted by looking for it on This PC. It will show a lock (icon).
8. Check the power settings of your laptop
Optimizing the power settings properly can extend your laptop’s lifespan and improve its performance. A gold feature of your laptop is its portability. The more power you constantly use, the more demanded your battery will be and this will define how short or long its life will be.
For instance, you can adjust the screen from the highest level of brightness to a lower one so that it doesn’t drain your battery as fast, or will it negatively affect your eyes as a bonus. Use the Battery Saver Mode to limit the power of the processor and set your screen to turn off after short periods of inactivity to avoid wasting power.
It can be different based on the distro you use. In Ubuntu you go to System, then Preferences, and finally Power Management.
System Preferences is the choice for you.
Click on and then Power Options.
9. Activate a system restore point on your laptop
Data corruption or failures during installations can always happen and system restoration can be your lifesaver. It will create restore points through time. In case of failure, it fixes the OS environment while getting back the settings and files as they were saved in the restore point.
You won’t find a system restore function in Linux but there are several apps to help, like TimeShift. You can either manually create and remove snapshots, or it can be set up to do this automatically. You define the schedule. Through these snapshots, different restore system points are created. There’s a useful Boot Snapshots option that creates a snapshot after each reboot.
macOS doesn’t include a system restore button but you have the Time Machine feature to help you. It automatically saves all aspects of your laptop’s hard drive through time. This creates useful restoring points for you.
By default, you will have a System Restore function but check if it’s activated. Then you can click on Create A Restore Point every time you want to create one or just leave this job to the system.
10. Install a VPN app
There’s no doubt you will use the Internet and that means risks. Now is a good moment to choose your VPN or Virtual Private Network app. It will encrypt your network connectivity and your communications and sensitive information will be protected.
Bonus tip – Buy a proper case for your brand-new laptop!
As we said, portability is a big feature in a laptop, however it’s also one that involves risks. Buy a proper laptop case which is water and impact resistant and reinforced on the edges, to protect it in case of drops or hits. Waterproof protection is strongly recommended. Rainy days or accidents involving the spilling of liquids are common. And check that the case’s interior offers a softer material to keep the laptop safe from scratches.
Now you know the most important 10 things you should do with a brand-new laptop. These recommendations are effective, and it you follow them, you’ll be able to use and enjoy you new device for a long time!
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