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When you first set up a Windows 7 machine, there are a few key things you should do. Whether you just installed a clean version of Windows 7 or bought a brand-name PC from the store with Windows 7 preinstalled, this guide will help you configure your PC for optimal use. Please note: even if you don’t have a “fresh” installation of Windows 7, most of these steps will apply.

As I walk you through the steps needed to configure your PC optimally, there may be a couple of steps that don’t apply (i.e. you don’t need to wipe bloatware from a fresh Windows 7 installation.) I’ll make sure you’re aware of this so you don’t waste time taking uneccessary steps.

Set up Windows 7 the Right Way

If you’re installing Windows 7 from scratch, Windows 7 – The Pocket Guide will walk you through the steps you need to take to configure your installation correctly, first time.

Now, you should have a PC with a “fresh” installation of Windows 7. If you’re reading this guide and you’ve been using your PC for some time, most of the steps will still apply.

Please note: Some of the steps taken refer to guides written for Windows Vista. Due to the similarity of Windows Vista and Windows 7, these guides should work for both. If you find a guide where the steps have changed (there shouldn’t be any), please let me know.

Steps to Take with your New Installation

  1. Create a restore point. Every time you make a major change (i.e. uninstalling software) create one. If something goes wrong, revert to a previous restore point.
  2. Install good anti-virus software. I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials.
  3. Take control of system security. Find out the basics of PC security in the PC Security Handbook
  4. Optional: Change and limit system restore options so you’re protected in the future.
  5. Start an automated backup schedule. I recommend any of the following programs:
  6. Optional: If you’re on a home network, join the workgroup/HomeGroup, and configure file sharing and network backups. Find out how to do all this here.
  7. Optional: Transfer your personal file from your old PC.
  8. Relocate your personal folders (i.e. Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music etc.) to a separate partition or drive.
  9. Brand-name PC only: Remove bloatware/crapware that comes with your new brand-name PC.
  10. If you haven’t already, set a good account password for Windows so your data is protected.
  11. Keep your PC in good shape by:

Now you’ve done the basics, you can rest assured knowing your PC is: free from unwanted software, secure, backed up, and automatically cleaned.

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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2 thoughts on “How to Set up a Windows 7 Machine the Right Way–First Time”

  1. michael says:

    Why would you include a registry cleaner in your suggestions? I googled “how to set up a Windows PC” to get to this site which was on Googles first page for that query.

    As a CompTIA A+ Certified IT Technician I can assure you that registry cleaners are bad news. I've repaired a lot of PCs where the client ran a registry cleaner and the machine became inoperable or barely operable. Microsoft does NOT recommend using a registry cleaner. One would be better off deleting cookies, using disk cleanup, error checking, and disk defragmenter as Windows was meant to be run and maintained. Also, your suggestion of using Microsoft Security Essentials is a good one. I have yet to see a machine running Security Essentials nor the previous Live one-care that was infected with a virus.

  2. Rich says:

    Hi Michael,

    I assume you're referring to step 11, where I recommend Advanced SystemCare to clean up junk files. Yes, Advanced SystemCare does include a registry cleaner; however, continual feedback on this product is always positive. Thus, I stand by my recommendation.

Comments are closed.

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