How to Set Up a New Computer: A Checklist

New Computer Setup Checklist

  • Initial Windows setup & update

  • Install browser & Office 365

  • Setup PC security

  • Transfer files & back up PC

  • Personalize your PC



When you purchase a new desktop, laptop, or 2-in-1 computer for your small business, setting it up properly can help the user—whether that’s you or an employee—hit the ground running.1

While many businesses opt to pay a professional—such as via an office supply or technology retailer, a local IT/computer repair shop, or a Device as a Service vendor—to set up their new PCs, some enjoy doing it themselves. For those who like to DIY their computer set-up, we’ve created this new computer setup checklist with 7 steps that will help you customize, update, and secure your new computer.1

7 Steps to Set Up Your New Business Computer

1. Run the Initial Windows Setup

Once you have unpacked the new computer, connected any necessary peripherals (mouse, keyboard, monitor), and turned the computer on, the first thing your computer will likely do is run Windows setup. At this step, you’ll be asked to log into a Windows account, which is a good idea if you would like to sync data across multiple devices with the same account. It also gives you a way to retrieve or change your password if it is lost, whereas a local account doesn’t have that option.

2. Run Windows Update

During the time it took your computer to travel from factory to distributor to your business, it’s likely that Microsoft pushed out some updates to Windows* 10. Proactively check and run updates by typing “Windows update” into the search on your toolbar.

3. Install Browser

New Windows* 10 computers come with Microsoft* Edge installed. However, some users prefer Google* Chrome, Mozilla* Firefox, or another browser, or all of the above, so that they may view how websites and emails look across browsers. If this is the case, download those browsers now and sign in (if desired) to sync passwords, activity, and bookmarks.

4. Install Office 365

If the computer is for a current employee, it’s likely you already have an Office 365 account for small business, which allows for installation on up to five devices. For new employees, you’ll need to sign up for a new Office 365 account for them before downloading the apps they need.

5. Set Up PC Security

Many new devices include biometric PC security features like fingerprint or facial recognition. Set up those features, plus a backup PIN. Also use this opportunity to strengthen passwords. Windows Defender, which is included with new PCs with Windows* 10, is a strong antivirus program, but if you choose to use an additional anti-malware application, set that up as well. If your Office 365 business account includes Mobile Device Management (MDM), add this new device.

6. Transfer Files and Back Up Your PC

Ensuring that you transfer your important files to your new PC is an important task that cloud storage has simplified. If you already use a cloud service such as OneDrive, SharePoint, Google Drive, or Dropbox to store and provide backup for important documents and files, “transferring” files is as simple as logging in to your provider and syncing the files you want to store locally on your new device. If you do not use cloud storage, you can either connect your new device to an external hard drive or your old computer (via a transfer cable) to transfer files that you need.

This is also a good time to make sure your new device is properly backing up to local network drives or a cloud service. Many cloud storage providers offer desktop apps that allow you to access files just like you would if they were stored locally, except the files live in the cloud and are continually saved to provide back-up. This also helps you access files when working away from the office. Should your device get lost, stolen, or damaged beyond repair, you don’t want to lose your work and crucial business data along with it.

7. Personalize Your PC

This is the fun part. First, right-click on your desktop and select “Personalize” to change your background image, theme, and fonts. Then, make sure you install apps that you need, such as accounting, inventory, videoconferencing, or team chat programs. Set up shortcuts on your desktop to the apps and files you access most often. You can customize your taskbar by right-clicking on an application icon and choosing “pin” or “unpin” from taskbar. You can also customize the Quick Access menu in Explorer and the start menu in the same way.

Now that you’ve completed the new PC setup checklist, it’s time to put your new device to the test. For more technology tips to help you get the most out of your devices, visit our Technology Tips & Tricks section.

Product and Performance Information


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