[AI] HASSLE-FREE PC

Sanjay ilovecold at gmail.com
Wed Sep 1 03:07:03 EDT 2010


Setting up a new Windows 7 PC 

If you're buying a new PC and using Windows 7 for the first time, the learning

curve is doubly steep. Rick Broida explains how to avoid the pitfalls

Many of us have chosen the introduction of a new, well-received operating system

(OS) as the ideal time to replace an outdated computer. But with a new PC and a

new OS come new features and, potentially, new gripes.

Create a system repair disc 

You never know when a catastrophe will strike, rendering your PC unable to boot.

OS discs rarely come bundled with new machines, so the onus is on you to build

an emergency boot disc.

Windows 7 makes this quite easy. Click Start, type repair, then choose 'Create

a system repair disc'. Pop a blank CD or DVD into your drive (netbook users

will need to connect an external one) and click 'Create disc'. Windows will do

the rest.

When it's done, label the disc and file it away in a handy place. If you ever

need it, you can boot up the machine from the disc to load a basic repair

environment.

Waiting until a problem has occurred will be too late - do it now. 

Remove the junk 

Next, let's get the PC running at peak performance. A good first step is to

remove some, if not all, of the software preloaded by the system maker. Most of

this can be downloaded again should you decide you need it, but in the meantime

it's simply taking up valuable disk space and probably slowing down your PC when

it first boots up.

If you've no need for an extended trial of a security suite or a helping hand

from Roxio or Google Desktop, grab a copy of Revo Uninstaller (

revouninstaller.com) and let it do its work, selecting anything you want it to

banish. You can also manually uninstall programs from the Control Panel or use

PC Decrapifier ( pcdecrapifier.com), which does exactly what its name suggests.

As with Revo Uninstaller, you get to choose which unnecessary applications are

worth salvaging and which to terminate.

You can always remove either or both programs once you've used them to clean out

your system, although Revo Uninstaller is worth having anyway.

Tread carefully when uninstalling programs: some may be more useful than they

sound. For example, if your system came with a Blu-ray drive and you remove a

bundled program such as Arcsoft TotalMedia Theater, you may lose the ability to

watch Blu-ray movies. If in doubt, keep it.

If you don't recognise a program, running its name through a search engine

should help you determine its usefulness. In most cases, however, if you really

don't think you need that program, you probably don't. Go ahead and get rid of

it.

Keep it secure 

As we all know, computers and their users are vulnerable to all manner of

threats, from hacking and phishing to viruses. That's why it's critical to

batten down your new machine's hatches from the outset.

Luckily, Windows 7 is pretty secure. Windows Defender, its firewall and

built-in anti-malware tool, offers robust protection from everyday threats.

Firefox 3.5 and Internet Explorer 8.0, meanwhile, help keep you safe from

pop-ups, phishing attempts, browser hijacking and the like.

As for email, both Gmail and Yahoo employ Norton antivirus software at the

server level (meaning you don't have to install anything), along with antispam

and antiphishing tools.

Even so, it's worth adding a couple more tools to your system's armoury. The

first is a router. Its built-in firewall will effectively render your machine

invisible to the internet at large, so hackers can't break in.

The second is Microsoft's free and widely acclaimed Security Essentials

antivirus software, downloadable from microsoft.com/security_essentials.

A further useful download is Web of Trust ( mywot.com), a free browser plug-in

that indicates whether web links are safe before you click on them.


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