As the world adjusts to the concept of large scale home working, my next task is to set up a newly purchased laptop for general use, including Microsoft 365, so that it is fast to use, has no unnecessary software installed that can slow it down, and can be customised later.
This guide shows how I set up the laptop and could be used as a general overview of how to get a laptop running brilliantly once you have purchased it from a retailer. Lost of new technology, including laptops, are filled with, in my opinion, software that just isn’t needed by the majority of consumers, and collectively they have a habit of slowing computers down and not giving the user a positive experience.
And on that note, lets dive in to see how I set it up.
Switch on the Laptop and Let Windows 10 set up
This particular laptop was running Windows 10 Home. Switching on the laptop for the first time initiates the setup procedure, which involves setting languages, keyboard layouts, internet access, and tailoring the Windows 10 experience to your own preferences. Once this is done, you arrive on your account desktop.
Switching Out of Windows S Mode
S Mode in Windows 10 prevents you from installing software that hasn’t been installed from the Windows Store. This limitation will prevent the user from using the laptop to its full potential, so I navigated to Settings > Activation and Switched out of S Mode. Following the prompts, I was able to switch out of S Mode into the fully-fledged Windows 10 Home Edition.
Installing Google Chrome
In this instance the customer has said they prefer Google Chrome for browsing the internet. I used Microsoft Edge, the built-in browser, to go to the Google Chrome website, downloaded it and installed it. I then configured it to be the default browser, and set up the home page as www.google.co.uk, and switched on the bookmarks bar.
Tidying up the Taskbar
Some of the icons across the taskbar won’t be needed by the individual using the laptop, so I removed all of the icons except for the File Explorer and Google Chrome. This small change makes the desktop seem uncluttered.
Installing an Antivirus
Before we do anything else, we need to protect the laptop from online threats. I installed Avast Antivirus, which is free and ideal for home use (currently being my preferred Antivirus Software of choice), and set it up to run a scheduled scan every month just in case the real time protection misses something.
Installing Adobe Reader
By default, in Windows 10, PDF’s are open in Microsoft Edge. The options are limited for what you can do with PDF’s, so I downloaded Adobe Reader DC, and set it as the default program to open PDF’s. The customer handles PDF’s a lot and is familiar with how Adobe Reader works.
Installing Microsoft 365
Next up was the install of the Office application to allow the person to work from home. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneDrive will be used a lot by the customer, and their place of work provided a license that could be used at home. Using these details, I downloaded the software and installed it, ensuring it was activated with the customer’s account.
Removing Unnecessary Apps and Software
A browse through Settings > Apps identified some software that wouldn’t be necessary for how this laptop would be used. I went through and uninstalled anything that was deemed to be not required.
Some software required a reboot to uninstall, so once everything was removed, I restarted the laptop.
Optimising Start Up
After rebooting, I opened the Start Up Programs in Task Manager, and disabled any software which didn’t need to load immediately on start up. This will make sure the laptop boots as quickly as possible.
Clearing Chromes Browsing History and Extensions
As I have just installed some software that includes browser extensions for Chrome, I opened Chrome and went to Settings > Extensions, removing any that where not needed. I then cleared the browsing data, setting it up to remove Everything, so that when Chrome was loaded by the customer it would swiftly.
Run Disk Cleanup
Windows 10 stores a lot of temporary files and data to make it work, and sometimes the system can get clogged up. As I had just installed some software, I ran Disk Cleanup, selecting everything that can be removed, to optimise the experience for the customer.
Setting the Virtual Memory Settings Correctly
Lastly for the setup, I browsed to Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > Performance > Virtual Memory and set the custom values to the recommended levels for this particular laptop. This will ensure the laptop runs efficiently and within its capabilities, giving the user a great experience with optimal speeds and low waiting times.
After adjusting these settings, the laptop needed to be restarted, and during this restart, some Windows 10 Updates installed.
Once the laptop rebooted it was ready for use and worked brilliantly!