The moment you pull your brand new laptop out of its packaging is pure ecstacy. Everything, from the monitor to the keys, looks immaculate. And as you unpeel the plastic covering, you forget all the pain and hardship your last hunk of scrap put you through.

But all the overheating and crashes don't matter anymore. You've got a shiny new toy, and all you want is to plug your new machine into the nearest outlet, smash the power button, and head straight for your favorite application. Unfortunately, we come bearing bad news: Your laptop isn’t anywhere near ready until you do the following things.

Get your OS up to speed

Regardless of whether you just unboxed a Mac or Windows machine, there’s at least half a dozen updates you need to install for the sake of security. This is a tiresome process that many people avoid like the plague, but putting off could mean ruining your shiny new laptop before it's reached the end of its first day.

Depending on how long the machine has been sitting in inventory, its operating system could be unprotected from WannaCry and other recent ransomware strains.

Another compelling reason to update are all the new features. Companies like Microsoft roll out new features and services every month. If you’re not taking advantage of them, you’re missing the opportunity to be more productive and upstage your coworkers.

“Oh, your computer doesn’t have that feature? That’s cute -- mine does.”

‘Decrapify’ your PC

Like it or not, hardware manufacturers accept money to bundle trial versions of applications with their computers. Some of the programs turn out to be useful, but most of the time they’re resource-sucking garbage.

While ‘crapware’ isn't quite as bad as malware, these programs hog hard drive space, memory, and processor power.

Our advice is always to uninstall crapware right out of the box. In the Windows Control Panel, select Programs & Features and remove the apps you’re never going to use in a thousand years. On a Mac, you can uninstall programs simply by dragging them into the trash. Just make sure you don’t delete anything important.

Install another browser

If the primary purpose of your Internet Explorer browser isn't to download Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, you’re not using it right. These browsers are generally faster and more reliable than IE.

Chrome, in particular, receives regular security updates and seamlessly integrates with other G Suite Apps, so if you already have a Google account there’s no reason to stick with the default web browser.

Even they know to ditch Internet Explorer!

Get your security together

Before you start mindlessly surfing the web, you need the proper safeguards in place. Installing antimalware software and network threat detection systems are the best place to start.

Sure, most laptops come with manufacturer-issued tools already installed, but they’re usually not fleshed out. After all, you can’t expect one built-in security program to fend off a gazillion threats.

You’re going to need something more robust, and there are plenty of third-party alternatives to choose from. Consider installing products from companies like Sophos, Cisco, Datto, Citrix, and SonicWall for a start.

Set up automatic backups

This may not seem like a crucial step for sparkling clean laptop. But as the saying goes, failing to plan means planning to...spend an entire evening deciding which would better satisfy your anger: hucking your laptop into the fireplace or the washing machine. Or something along those lines.


The moment you have all your software sorted out, create ‘Restore Points’ so you have something to fall back on in case something goes wrong. These allow you to revert your computer back to a point in time before you lost important files.

Another option is storing your files in cloud platforms such as Office 365 or G Suite. But for enterprise-level solutions on SMB budgets, enterprise disaster recovery solutions like those offered by managed IT services providers are the best bet. The bottom line is you need to have backups in a different location.

Laptops are a lot of fun when you first get them, and satisfying when they last for several years. If you need help keeping your hardware from breaking down on you, call the experts at Red Key Solutions today!

Red Key is a leading cybersecurity company serving New York City, Westchester County, Fairfield County Connecticut, California & beyond. Click here to learn more.