New Computer, Same Old Protection

Buying a new computer, check out some of these tips for what to look for in your new desktop or laptop. Also find out what you should do when you get your new toy home.

You need a new computer but you’re not sure what you want. Or you know and have bought it but now that you’ve got it home there some things you need to do before you start playing those cool games. If you’re not sure about what you want in a new computer, whether it’s a desktop model or a laptop you should always think of the future.

This can often make up your mind on what you want and what you’ll be spending on a new computer. When you start thinking about a new computer, think about the things you want in the future to do with it. Whether it’s gaming, multimedia or just emailing and searching the internet you should think about what you’ll be doing with your computer in two to four years. If you have young kids think about them and what they will be doing with your computer in the future. This will be a good way to plan for the future and get the things you want with your current purchase and not have to upgrade a year or two down the road. Games and multimedia are one of the areas that you should be looking at what the current highest system requirements are and what you like to use your computer for.

That new computer is going to be outdated the day you pick it up so think about how outdated it will be two years from now. The games and programs you want now are the ones you need to check and make sure your computer has higher system requirements for. Look at the web site of the games or programs you want to get for that new computer and find out what the system requirements are and make sure the computers you are looking at more than meet these, they should exceed them by at least a good amount. I have a pretty good computer and when I bought it the games I was getting were far lower than my system specifications. Now, two years later games are starting to come out that I cannot buy because my computer is not good enough. So this is the first main thing you need to look into, make sure any programs and games you really want can easily be run on that computer. The new computer should easily be far better than the games and programs when you first buy it.

System specifications are things like processor speed in Hertz or something like this AMD Athlon 2.1 GHz. Memory is RAM and measured in MB or GB, megabytes or gigabytes. Hard drives are measured in Gigabytes.

You even have to make sure the operating system is compatible. Nowadays the most current and common OS or Operating System is Windows XP with Service Pack 2. Most new games and programs are being made for this at a minimum. So make sure that computer has at least this. Some other things that you should be getting at a minimum are the following.

�Windows XP with SP2
�Memory should be 512 Mega Bytes but 1 Gigabyte is better.
�Hard drive minimum should be 100 Gigabytes, Windows XP takes up 1.5 Gigabytes and others will require more.
âÂ?¢CD Drives should be DVD/CD + RW at least. It’s nice to play movies as well as record on DVD’s. The DVD and CD is the type of disc. The “+” and “-” mean that a different format is used and if the drive only has one these you need to make sure you get the discs for that format. The RW means the drive both writes and rewrites DVD’s and CD’s.
�Audio and Video cards should both support Direct x 9.0 C. The current Direct X version is 9.0 C, and you should plan to get this for current games and graphics. Direct X is the program your computer uses for video gaming, but is used for all other kinds of graphics and computer imaging.

These are some of the things you should be looking at when you are buying a new computer. You should also be buying this new computer at a reputable store that has a good service plan. It is not enough to be buying a good computer with a good reputation and good manufacturer warranties. The service is one the biggest hassles when you get the computer home and then something happens. If you have to ship that computer off to get it fixed this means you are going to be paying at least some of that shipping and you’ll not have the computer for you to use. If the store or business where you buy it at has service technicians that fix and do all the service in store, that is a better place than one that ships it off to somewhere else for service. You can ask the business if they have certified technicians that do the work. Also ask if they will charge for service calls if you’re having small problems and you just need something simple that takes a few minutes to fix.

The store where I purchased my recent laptop for my son was having trouble at the time I wanted to pick up my new purchase. I bought the laptop on a Friday, it was ordered and would be in on Monday and they would do some testing and updating on it to make sure I received a good laptop. They had some trouble getting to work on the computer on Tuesday and Wednesday, but said they would get to work on it on Thursday. When I went in on Thursday they were sorry that they were still working on it but would deliver it that night when they were done instead of me picking it up the next day. The owner of the store delivered it later that night to my very eager son’s waiting arms personally, he happens to live near us. Aside from that fact he would have delivered it wherever we lived, I’m sure. I am just making the point that this store was willing to go out of their way to get our new purchase to us as soon as they could and make a home delivery. They also have in store certified technicians that do most if not all of the work in the store.

The store is a Computer Renaissance that is a national chain of locally owned computer stores that have in store repair and service. I would recommend looking for one of these or a similar store. I have had bad experiences with both sales people and the service department at a Best Buy and will not be buying my electronics there any more. I have also heard others with similar bad experiences and would recommend making sure of the warranties that the store is offering and get those in writing. If a salesman says it, get it in writing. Make sure you get any warranties or guarantees about your computer in writing if you buy a service plan. Ask about the in store service before buying that computer. Also ask about what the store does for its service if they have to replace parts. Do they replace them or do they ship off the computer for others to do it. This means your computer is in the mail being delivered somewhere else and you don’t have it. If the computer gets damaged en route who is responsible for any damage. These things can be a pain for you to deal with and you need to ask before you buy from whatever store your thinking of.

When you do decide what computer you want, don’t just hook it up and play those games. You should look at all the parts and even take off covers to familiarize your self with the computer and inspect it. Make sure pins on connectors are not bent before hooking up cables. Make sure there are no shipping straps or packaging inside the components. Check for any damage and if there is any questions ask the store. They should be happy to help you or replace anything that is damaged. Make sure you get backup or recovery discs with your new computer. If they don’t come with it then you will have to make some so this is the first thing to do after you get it running. Make a back up or recovery disc or discs for that time when you cannot get the thing working again. You may not know how to use these but the technician who may be fixing your computer may need these to fix your computer in the future.

After inspecting the computer and all its parts, hook it up according to the instructions. Then after plugging it in, turn it on and watch the computer run through its start up. It might ask you to go through some things to familiarize you with your new computer. If it asks to make a recovery disc do so. If you have the choice use DVD’s and not CD’s. One DVD will usually be enough to create a system recovery disc while it will probably be four or more CD’s.

Some other things you should do before hooking your computer up to an internet is install Anti Virus and Firewall protection. If you have Windows XP it will come with the firewall protection as part of the program. You may want to get some other kind but the Windows Firewall is a good one for now until you get more into your new purchase. A good Antivirus program that is free is called AVG from Grisoft. You can download it from here: http://www.download.com/AVG-Anti-Virus-Free-Edition/3000-2239-10320142.html?tag=ymal_img . If your computer comes with a free version of some companies anti virus software you can see if you like it for the trial period. The AVG is a highly recommended one and comes with easy to use features. If you cannot download the anti-virus onto another computer and transfer it using a Jump Drive to your new one then hook up to the internet and download the free version first thing. You should not have any problems going to the CNET Download site. Just make sure your firewall protection is on and running when you hook up to the internet. Go to the control panel and Windows Firewall for information and help on turning it on and working with it.

On CNET there is a section that talks about must have programs for your computer, some of these are things like adware and spyware detection and removal and anti virus programs. Check here for this list of things and what each does for your computer: http://www.download.com/PC-Starter-Kit/2001-12350_4-0.html?tag=dir

This site has twenty programs they call must haves, but some are just games or fun things while others are ones that everyone should have. On the first page they have several that are ones that I would consider essentials:

�Anti Virus of some kind.
�A Firewall, whether Windows XP or some other.
�Ad-Aware, spyware and adware detection and removal.
�WinPatrol, a startup program watch dog preventing unauthorized programs from starting on your system.
�
The second page, Tools, has one program that is another I consider a must, CCleaner. This is a registry and general computer cleaner that helps keep your computer clean and unwanted things off your system.

Whatever you decide you should be familiar with the programs you are installing and using. A good Firewall, Antivirus and spyware program is the minimum ones for every computer. Run each of these before doing any thing else to make sure you start off with a good computer.

Start with the Firewall and then install the antivirus. You will need to hook up to the internet and update the antivirus once it is installed. Then install whatever other programs like the Ad-Aware and WinPatrol. Update these and update Windows if it asks you to. Check the update site for Microsoft to update your computer and make sure any of the Windows components need updating. If it does then let Windows do this automatically unless you know what you’re doing. Also check the manufacturer for any updates to the exact model of your computer by visiting their website.

After updating your computer perform a restore point using the Windows System Restore and Recovery. A system restore point will allow you to restore your computer to that point in time when you have problems later on. This is found in your Help and Support Section of your computer. It only takes a minute to make a restore point and this is something you should do every week or two to make a good place to restore your computer to if you have problems in the future. You can read more about this at the Help and Support section.

Once you have all this done you can be sure that if and when you have problems in the future you will have the tools and programs to deal with them. With your recovery discs you can restore your computer back to its original state. With the system restore you can go back to a time when your computer was not having a particular problem and get rid of bad data or changes to your computer. Using the various programs like Anti-Virus, Firewall and Winpatrol you will protect and remove unwanted things that attack your system. Using these and regular maintenance like system cleaning and backing up your data onto a backup disc or drive you will have years of happy computing with your new purchase.

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