Instructions For Your New Computer

New home computers should appear with the aforementioned admonishing characterization as abounding toys: Some accumulation required.

A fresh-out-of-the-box Windows or Macintosh apparatus may be able to get you on the Web, play your MP3s and aggregate your photos, but it can accomplish those tasks bigger with a little added setup. Here's what to do with a new computer alive Windows Vista or Mac OS X Leopard, the accepted versions of anniversary operating system.

Secure: On a Vista computer, Windows' congenital firewall aegis will already be active, and you should be prompted to accredit the preinstalled anti-virus software if you aboriginal cossack up the PC. Do not avoid that step.

On a Mac, you'll accept to about-face on the firewall: Bang the Arrangement Preferences adjustment at the basal of the screen, bang that preferences window's Security icon, again the Security pane's Firewall branch and assuredly bang the checkbox next to "Set admission for specific casework and applications."

From there you'll charge to download any accessible arrangement updates. In Vista, go to the Start menu, baddest Control Panel, and bang the Check for updates link. On a Mac, go to the Apple-icon card and baddest Software Update.

A few added Internet programs will charge updates of their own. On a Vista or Mac computer, appointment to get the latest Flash plug-in, which plays a lot of Web videos. On a Windows PC, hit the afterward sites for updates to Adobe Reader, Sun Microsystems' Java and Apple's QuickTime:,,


Simplify: A lot of Windows manufacturers assert on bottleneck their PCs with extraneous third-party programs. These generally cover balloon versions of big-ticket appointment programs (instead, buy the $150 Home and Student Edition of Microsoft Appointment 2007, download the chargeless OpenOffice 3 at or use the chargeless Google Docs Web-based software at; software for Internet casework that a lot of humans don't use (such as AOL, EarthLink or NetZero); and browser toolbars (unless you already use and like the one that's installed). You can adios these exceptionable guests from your PC by beat the Control Panel's Uninstall a affairs link.

You can added declutter Windows by right-clicking exceptionable shortcuts on the desktop and the Quick Launch toolbar (at the appropriate of the Start menu) and selecting Delete. A chargeless affairs with the affably awkward name of PC Decrapifier ( can automate both sets of chores, but doesn't explain why it suggests removing some programs and not others; use with care.

The Dock at the basal of a new Mac's awning can aswell account from pruning. Drag an exceptionable affairs adjustment off the Dock, and it will vanish with a breath of smoke.

Backup: Before you amount up your new computer with data, set it to aback up those files. Windows Vista's Advancement and Restore Center can answer if you stick to Microsoft's congenital programs. If you accept a broadband connection, however, you can get 2 gigabytes of flexible, automated and chargeless online advancement via Mozy (, a accessory of the computer-services close EMC.

For backups to a CD, DVD or alien drive, you can accept amid chargeless but catchy applications (SyncBack Freeware, at or non-free but somewhat simpler programs (try Acronis True Image Home 2009, $49.99 at

On a Mac, this job is awfully easier: Buy an alien harder drive, bung it in and let Apple's Time Apparatus software do the rest.

Enable: Now, add a few programs to advancement the computer's basal toolkit. The free, open-source Mozilla Firefox ( Web browser is faster, added defended and added able than Internet Explorer; it's not as capital on a Mac but still represents a acceptable advancement to Apple's Safari, back a few Web sites don't absolutely plan in that browser.

In Windows, Firefox's e-mail-only affinity Thunderbird can be a acceptable advancement over Vista's congenital Windows Mail for added accelerated use. But if you like the attending of Windows Mail, you ability be happier affective to Microsoft's chargeless Windows Reside Mail (

For music playback in Windows, Apple's iTunes calmly beats Windows Media Player; it comes with a accepted install of QuickTime, but you can download it anon at For photo alteration on a PC, accede Google's Picasa ( or, if you're acclimated to managing photos with Windows' congenital tools, Microsoft's Windows Reside Photo Gallery (, both free.

Rest: At this point, the computer should be in appealing acceptable shape. So leave it that way. Don't blitz to reinstall every affairs you ran on the old computer, and don't go crazy aggravating out new ones. (You absolutely shouldn't breach out the aboriginal CD that came with your printer or scanner; go to the vendor's Web website to download accepted drivers).

This give-the-computer-a-rest action represents your best attempt at ensuring that your new apparatus (in particular, a new Windows machine) runs as fast a year from now as it does today. Besides, do you absolutely wish computer aliment to become any added

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