Thursday, July 05, 2018

3 Things you Should do to Every New Computer

Purchasing a new computer is an exciting process. New devices boot faster, the screen resolution is better and applications respond so quickly compared to older systems. While it can be easy to get carried away with using a new device, there are a few things you should do first. Installing new software and setting preferences is important, but you will be better off if you first do these three things to a new computer.

3 Things you Should do to Every New Computer

Document the serial number, service tag, etc.

Before logging into the new computer document any of the following numbers as applicable:
  • Serial number
  • Model number
  • Service tag
  • Product number
Each manufacturer uses different language for similar sets of unique numbers. They are typically located on the back of a computer tower, on the bottom of a laptop or under the laptop battery. These numbers will be important if you need warranty work or if you need to download the original drivers again whether the driver was corrupted or the drive crashed and needed to be rebuilt.

Example of pertinent information on the bottom of an HP laptop.

If you do not document these numbers right away, you can always access them later.  However, once a tower has multiple cables connected to it and has been under a desk for a year, you will wish you had documented them right away if you need it later. Lastly, be sure to store this information somewhere you can easily access it at any time. This can be as simple as emailing it to yourself and flagging the email for later reference. 

Install a second web browser

Both Windows and Apple devices come with an internet browser built-in. But what happens if you have a problem with the browser? How will you get on the internet to troubleshoot the issue? To fix the issue? To download a new browser? The answer is:  very carefully and you can be sure it will be tedious!

The best way to prevent such an inconvenience is to download a secondary browser before doing anything else. If you start using the device first, it will be really easy to forget to download the browser even if you intended to. The secondary browser you download does not matter. The purpose is to create some resiliency before issues arise.

If something were to ever happen to the built-in browser, you will be thankful you took the 3 minutes it takes to add a secondary browser! If you experience a browser issue with Edge, check out this post that covers common ways to fix built-in Windows applications.

Install Acrobat Reader

Being able to open pdf files is important because they are the de facto standard for sending files to others. This is partly because Adobe Reader can be downloaded by anyone at anytime for free on either an Apple or Windows system so the recipient can open the file being sent without expensive software being required. Additionally, sending files in pdf format means users cannot easily modify them. Forms and documents can be locked down so users can open and print them without being able to change them. Lastly, sending a pdf file guarantees the formatting of the file will be the same for each person opening the file, something that cannot be said of many other programs.

Whatever type of new device you buy, there are a few things you should do before anything else. First, document any specific numbers related to the device in case you need to reference them later for warranty or software support. Second, download a second browser so you can still get on the internet even if something happens to the built-in browser. Lastly, install Acrobat Reader so you can easily open files sent to you. 

As always, new technology can be fun and exciting, but it is also important to take a few minutes to plan ahead as this will prevent lots of frustration later.

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