All about email

For a long time, I’ve been wanting to do a series of mini posts to help people with their use of email. I don’t mean setting up or technical stuff, but rather the best way to use it as a tool – especially if you work in a non-tech environment, but don’t really know anything about how to use it.

Oh well, I know what I mean, so let’s see how it goes – just want to sort out this page and I’ll be back as soon as I can.

Here’s a tip to get started





Setting Up A New Computer – The Five Things I Always Do First

It’s great having a brand new computer (PC for short). You can set everything up just the way you would like it. When I set up a new computer, here are the five things I always do first. At the end of the post I will list the programs I currently use on my laptop. (BTW, when I speak of a PC I mean desktop, laptop, notebook – not tablets, and certainly not iPads. MACs or Linux machines).

laptop image

I just recently upgraded my laptop to an Asus X75V – so now is a good time to summarise how I set it up for real.

  1. First and foremost I get my Anti Virus or Security Suite loaded up and running. The two are different, by the way. Anti Virus, is usually just that, whereas a Security Suite does more. Which you get depends on how much you want to pay. I’ll go into details in another post. For this purpose, I really want to stress that getting your AV sorted out as quickly as possible is a must.
  2. Updating Windows and setting it to update automatically. As soon as they leave the factory, PCs are out of date. For security reasons, you must install all the updates which have come through since. Sometimes there will be a lot. The AV program may well prompt for you to do this anyway – DON’T SKIP IT! I just let the system do it’s job before I go on to the next step.
  3. Keeping in touch with the outside world is important to me, so I like to download my email messages to my PC so that I can sort and move them around however I want. Also means that even with our very slow broadband connection, I can do my messages at my leisure. I use Thunderbird as my email client and download from 5 accounts a the moment. So, setting up my email client is number two on my list.
  4. Browser comes next. It may be that this will jumpt to the top of my list, depending on when I do what, but my favorite browser and the one I am most comfortable using is Firefox. I’ll set this as my default and pop on the add-ons I need asap.
  5. The absolutely essential piece of software I must have avaialble straight away is OneNote. This is my project book and comes into my Top Five things I always do first simply because it is so easy to use. 90% of my online biz and non-biz information is stored in OneNote. It’s my personal assistant and has been for years.

So, that’s about it. I would then go on to add all my programs and set up my screens and taskbar, but these five items have top priority every time.

I usually upgrade my PC every two or three years. It provides a good opportunity for me to have a clear out, not install again those programs I have never used, and ring the changes with colour schemes and themes. My desktop looks very different now to what it did five years ago, let alone 30 when I first started using computers in the 1980s!

Do add a comment if you would like to – or if you would like to ask a question or make a suggestion as to what you would like me to cover in future posts. Keep it short so other readers will take an interest too.

Here’s my list:

  1.     Currently using BitDefender Total Security Suite 2014. bitdefender imageThey have a free AV option, but the whole suite is a good price on Amazon. I’ve   tried lots of the freebies, but they all seem to nag me to upgrade too much, or slow my pc down. MS Defender/Security Essentials was also a favourite, but MS are not keeping them updated as they used to,m so not a good choice these days.



  1. I used to have Windows download the updates and just tell me they were there, but then I’d skip running them. Not a good idea. The hackers like to look for PCs which are out-of-date. Better to let the system do it all automatically. The last thing you want is hackers coming in!
  2. Thunderbird is almost as good as Eudora was! Most of my accounts are with Gmail (googlemail), thunderbird logobut I also have some domains which I send to my gmail accounts. My main three I also access on my mobile. Thunderbird is an email ‘client’. I have set it up so that I can reply as from the address the message was sent to (gmail does that too). I don’t like hotmail or yahoo – far too nosey and intrusive with ads.
  3. If you don’t have a favourite browser, do try out some of the alternatives like Chrome. Opera, Firefox. Internet Explorer comes as standard, but with a new pc you are given a choice of which one you want to set as your default.
  4. OneNote (from Microsoft) is bundled with the Office Suites, but you can also buy it separately. onenote logoIt’s very similar to Evernote and Springpad – the latter I use on my mobile as it’s a great way to make quick notes. I’ll be honest – I do have OneNote on my mobile now, but have yet to set it up – the main reason I haven’t is because of the mass of info I keep on it, which I don’t need when I’m out and about.

In a future post I will introduce some of the other bits and pieces I use on my computer which you may find useful too, but for now at least you know the five things I always do first when I’m setting up my computer!