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Top Tip: Every New Computer Owner Should Do This

Written by  Feb 11, 2020

All those files you’ve saved through the years that you can’t remember what they are? Goodbye, it wasn’t meant to be.

Whether this is your first or your fifth new PC, there are a few steps that every owner should take after they boot up their device for the first time. We’ve got you covered here – read on to learn what owners should do with their brand-new computers:

1. Install an antivirus and enable your firewall

Hopefully you’re reading this on your smartphone or tablet, because the very first thing you should do with your new computer is to download a reputable antivirus software and to enable your firewall – especially before you connect to the internet.

Cybercrime has evolved and attacks to your online privacy may start the second you access the world wide web. Malicious websites and advertisements can launch what’s called ‘drive-by downloads’, which may download viruses or other programmes that endanger your computer.

Software like Norton 360 helps protect against attacks from cybercriminals on the internet. Installing an antivirus from the moment your PC loads the internet means there’s less time that your new computer is entirely susceptible to cyberthreats.

Similarly, the computer’s firewall plays in equally important role in helping to fend off cyberthreats. A firewall is your PC’s personal bodyguard, allowing good internet traffic to connect to your device and keeping bad internet traffic – like the kind filled with dangerous files – away.

The good news for configuring your firewall is that it’s most likely already installed on your computer. If you’re on Windows 10, find the search bar at the bottom left of your desktop screen and type in ‘Windows Defender Firewall’. Make sure the firewall is turned on for Domain Network, Private Networks and Guest or Public Networks.

If you want advanced firewall protection – rather than just the most basic capabilities – you can opt for a paid firewall solution, like with Norton 360 Standard, Deluxe or Premium edition.

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Also see: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (13.5in) Review

2. Set up cloud storage to backup your most important files

You’ve probably already had thoughts as to how you’ll transfer all your files from your old computer to your new one, if it isn’t your first.

Seemingly our entire lives are now stored on these big boxes or slim laptops, with bills, financial information and other important notes being tucked away in digital folders. Losing access to these files can be frustrating and even devastating, because in many cases you might not be able to get them back.

As invincible as your new computer might feel at the moment, remember that it’s still a piece of technology and it has its risks when it comes to storing information. It could:

  • Crash and need to be reset from factory settings
  • Someone (like a child or even yourself!) could accidentally delete a document
  • Cyberthreats like ransomware could lock away, erase or corrupt files.

These are some of the reasons why so many new computer owners get cloud storage. It’s a way to backup files more safely and securely and make sure you never lose the documents that are important to you.

With Norton 360, which includes antivirus, firewall protection and useful features, users can get up to 75 gigabytes (GB) of cloud storage for backup. These files are hosted and secured by NortonLifeLock, ensuring that your documents will be there when you need them.

Don’t forget to regularly backup the files stored on your hard drive (or in other words, on your computer) to the cloud.

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3. Update to the latest patches

Now that your computer has the most basic security settings enabled, it’s time to make sure it’s safe from another big security loophole: patches.

While you might commonly know patches as updates to bring new features to your favourite programmes and games, patches also provide valuable security updates against vulnerabilities. In many cases, cybercriminals use these vulnerabilities to gain access to PCs and their most valuable information – including financial records, if they are stored on the computer.

If you’re on Windows 10, you can go to the search bar in the bottom-left hand corner of your desktop screen and type in ‘Check For Updates’ to find out whether the operating system is the most recent – and secure – version available.

After doing so, use your browser to find patches for common programmes, like Adobe Flash or your internet browser. These popular applications can also be abused by cybercriminals if they aren’t properly updated.

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Also see: Wearables At Work: The British challenges and opportunities for business

4. Get a password manager

With your new computer set up and ready to go, you’ll be doing a lot of web browsing, downloading and registering over the next few days.

There’ll be a lot of passwords floating around if you’re using a different one for each account like you should (because we all follow internet security best practices, right?).

Password managers do the heavy lifting when it comes to account safety and security, letting you create new accounts on websites and for applications knowing that you’ll always be able to find your password if you forget it. They let you create more secure passwords as you’re able to add in special characters and numbers to your passwords, while still being able to use your accounts hassle-free.

Find a single solution

Setting up a new computer can be a little stressful, especially with how many programmes that are needed to protect it.

Do you find this article useful? Comment below or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Peter Flynn

Senior Editor and self confessed tech addict, bringing a variety of tech news, help and advice in the UK. I have worked in various fields throughout my career such as a Systems Administrator, Cyber Security Consultant and other technical related roles, these days I concentrate on business tech journalism and technical writing.

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