Now that you have your new computer, what the hell are you supposed to do? I am so very glad you asked!
Something that most people might not realize, is that when you buy a (non-Apple) computer, you are not actually paying for what the computer is worth. Both manufacturers and retailers themselves will sell computers at a “loss” in an effort to be competitive and increase overall sales. Sounds crazy, but of course these devious bastards aren’t stupid, they make their money back one way or another. Manufacturers will, as anyone who has bought a computer in the last… ten years will know, load up all of their machines with all kinds of trial software. They make deals with the software companies to subsidize the cost of the computer, either getting paid to pre-install the software, or more likely to get kickbacks on any people that buy or subscribe. The retailers then bet on most customers buying accessories with the machine. With things like cables, cases, and flash drives all carrying huge markups around 50-1000% ($30 for a $3 ethernet cable hurts me), they can easily make up for any loss.
Of course Apple is immune to this because their machines cost an arm and a leg, leaving plenty of profit margins. Not that they still don’t make a crap-ton from accessories and such themselves on top of that.
My point is you now probably have a computer all bogged down with crap software that you don’t want or care about. The first step is to download and run The PC Decrapifier, a very handy piece of software that will step you through the process of removing all the pre-installed junk on your machine. A warning though, make sure you pay attention to every step and what the program tells you, especially when you are selecting things to uninstall. Last thing you need is to uninstall all the drivers you need for your computer to run properly and ruin the whole experience. If you are not sure about something, google it or just leave it alone, you can always just remove it later if you find out it’s garbage. The most common things to look out for in this process is any anti-virus/anti-spyware and Microsoft Office (you know, Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.), these are always trials and the last thing you need is multiple versions chewing up your system. Also do yourself a favor and remove adobe reader, you don’t have to, but I highly recommend it and will offer a better alternative later.
Now that your system is all clean and shiny, time to make your recovery DVDs. Please, please, PLEASE, I implore you to look in the start menu and find the “Recovery Disc Creator” or “Recovery Manager” and burn the damn discs. It is typically three DVDs and they will make your life worlds easier if something goes wrong. Otherwise you will be stuck calling who-knows-where hoping that you don’t get stuck on hold forever, all so you can now pay for something you could have had for free and wait the week for it to arrive. These discs will allow you to re-install Windows if it is corrupted or your hard drive dies; your local repair shop will not have copies, your local retailer will not have copies, no one will have copies other than the manufacturer. I’ll conclude this rant with the fact that these discs are also make and model (at least series) specific, so you can’t just ask your friends or neighbors if they were responsible people.
Okay you’re back, that was a fun three hours starring at a progress bar right? Be happy though, we are almost at the end of this long, annoying tunnel!
- Web Browsers
- Firefox (for the few sites that hate chrome)
- Pidgin (the actual AIM client is for suckers)
- Skype (if you like to video chat)
- VLC (for all your random file playing needs)
- Silverlight (yay netflix!)
- Picasa (best photo manager in town!)
- Foxit Reader (here is your Adobe Reader replacement)
- Microsoft Essentials (surprisingly good anti-virus)
- Dropbox (everyone needs some cloud storage)
- KeePass (now you have no excuse to have strong passwords)
Of course I get a few more things needed for my geek toolkit, but if you need those things I am sure you don’t need this post to help you. Now that you selected what you want, just hit the big green “Get Installer” button, run the file that downloads and let Ninite do it’s magic. Then restart the machine and you should be all good to go!
Then again, you could always say screw it, erase everything and install Ubuntu. But I think this post is already long enough…