The first things to do with your new Windows laptop

So, you just got yourself a new Windows laptop. Now what? Well, after taking it out of the box and plugging it in, there are a few things we suggest you do to make your journey as smooth as possible.

It should be noted that we will be covering newer Windows laptops exclusively. Macs are a whole different story that we won’t get into here. We’ll also make sure we don’t get too technical. You won’t need to dig into your registry, run dodgy scripts, or abandon your firstborn. Some of these steps may even seem obvious to you. If so, well done, we’re proud.

Be with the times

Once you’ve opened up your shiny new laptop and done the initial plug-and-play setup, the first thing you should do is check for updates. Laptops are usually made at least a few months before they end up in your hands. That means you will have missed some pretty important Windows security updates and maybe even a feature update or two.

Hit the start button – the button between left control and alt – and just start typing “updates”. You should see a “Check for updates” result. Click on it and start these updates. You’ll probably have to restart several times, but do it now rather than in the middle of a Zoom call.

With the introduction of Windows 11, Microsoft started to integrate updates for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) into Windows Update. But it’s always a good idea to go to the manufacturer’s website if your laptop has RGB or any other fancy features you want to use. You spent all that money, maybe too.

Get rid of bloat

The next step is to cut the fat. Almost every laptop comes with at least one program that you’ll never use, usually no more. Sometimes these are harmless and sometimes they can be incredibly annoying or even slow down your machine. It is better to remove them now as long as the list is short.

Windows LaptopsPress that start button again and start typing “Add or Remove Programs”. Before long, you will see a result with the same name. Tap on it and browse the list. You are looking for things like McAfee, Norton or any other pre-installed antivirus trial that comes with the laptop.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t use one, but there are plenty of options that will work better without cluttering your machine with annoying pop-ups. Eset Security and Kaspersky come to mind. There’s also usually a trial version of Microsoft Office hidden away somewhere. If you don’t plan to buy it, you can get rid of it for now. Click on the kebab menu and select “uninstall”.

Now the real work can begin

Windows LaptopsNext, you’ll want to start downloading and installing the programs you’ll need on a daily basis. But before that, go to ninite.com. This site offers most of the basic programs that you will use on a daily basis. A web browser, VLC for movies, Spotify for music, and Steam for games. Check the ones you want and the installer will download and install the latest version of the programs. It will also ignore all restart requests, but when finished, it’s a good idea to restart anyway.

And that’s all. You are now in a pretty good starting position. Don’t forget to update when it asks you to. If you’re looking for a few other things to do that will speed up your boot times or want to personalize your Windows experience, here are some optional quick tips.

If you are a fan of efficiency, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the task manager. Go to the “startup” tab and disable programs that appear here that you don’t need the second you turn on your laptop. These can sometimes have a big impact on your startup times.

Speaking of efficiency, that extra button press you’re subjected to when starting? Yeah, it has to go. If you don’t mind saying goodbye to cute wallpapers and inspirational quotes, turn off the Windows lock screen. Hit that start button again and type “gpedit”. You should see the best match result saying “Edit Group Policy”. This may only show up if you have the Pro edition of Windows. Home users will need to delve into the registry and that’s a no-no for this guide.

Call yourself an administrator

windows laptopClick on “Edit Group Policy”, then in the list on the left, find Computer Configuration. Head to the Administrative Templates folder just below, then Control Panel, then Personalization. Now, on the right of this window, you will see a list. Look for “Do not show lock screen”. Double-click it, check the “Enabled” option on the top left, then click “Apply” and “OK”.

Now you will be taken directly to your login tile where you can enter your password or just log in if you are living dangerously. You saved an entire button press. You’re welcome.

All that remains is to find a good wallpaper to add a personal touch to your new machine. Wallhaven.cc is a good place to start. Or you can just use a photo of your dog.

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