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 As soon as they leave the factory, PCs are out of date.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!


Why Upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S3?

Why am I very likely to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S3, rather than the HTC One X? Why do I need to upgrade at all?

To be honest, I do not really need to upgrade – but – I have two contracts expiring soon, so I may as well take advantage. I also like to get new gadgets.

I’ve looked closely at the One X & S3 reviews and I’m 100% sure I will go for the S3 for these 3 reasons:

1. Better battery – it’s going to have 2100MAh, so should last a bit longer than the HTC which I can hardly do anything with during the day for fear of the battery running down. What’s the point in having a SmartPhone if you can’t use it properly?

2. Performance on the S3 looks very promising with that quad-core processor – sooooo tempting.

3. Storage – no need to worry about running out of space as the S3 takes a micro SD card – the HTC has no facility to add any more memory (a bit short-sighted IMHO; I’m already running 145 extra apps on my phone and it’s struggling. I NEED SPACE).

So, for just those 3 reasons the Samsung Galaxy S3 looks as if it’s coming into my hands very soon. I’ll go for the white I think. Now I just need to talk to my friendly Vodafone consultant and wait for the car kit to come out and I’ll be well away.

(Might let my SO have my HTC Sensation – good enough for what he will do with it.)


Advent Vega update availability – kind of review

Here’s an Advent Vega update / kind of review

I am seriously thinking about getting one of these babies.

I have an android mobile (Samsung Galaxy S) and I’m really pleased with it. I’ve downloaded lots of apps – and sadly, deleted very few. But there’s bags of room still.

So, why am I wanting an Advent Vega?

Main reason is to have something different. I was actually trying to get hold of any kind of touch-screen pc a year or so ago, but there were hardly any around. (Certainly PCWorld looked at me as if I was from another planet when I asked about them!)


advent vega

I made do with a Samsung Netbook. Now, I was actually very pleased with this, but it was quite slow for what I needed to do, and when I was looking at web pages the resolution meant that they didn’t look too good – needed to do lots of scrolling and zooming in and out.

About 6 months ago I bought a fairly powerful laptop with a 16.5 inch screen, and this is great for my online biz stuff.

So now I would like to have something that’s more for fun than biz, but which I can still use to do the odd bit of emailing, use in bed without baking my knees, etc. I’d like a change from using a trackball and mouse too.

I have considered the iPad, but it has its limitations. I don’t want to be restricted to the walled garden of Apple apps and I would like a bit more connectivity with it (perhaps the iPad2 will be better). There’s no need for me to spend out on an iPad either, even if it is better; if the Advent Vega is half the price, but not quite as slick, then it’s going to suit my pocket  anyway.

There are LOADS of Advent Vega reviews if you do a Google search, so I’m not going to do that here (I can’t anyway, as I don’t have one). I’ll leave that for the true geeks.

Here are the things I have learnt to watch out for when doing searches for “Advent Vega” and “Android Tablet”:

  • You will be given links to much lesser products which are nothing like the Vega.
  • Be patient and don’t buy from eBay as they are usually much more expensive!
  • You can’t get Vegas anywhere in UK (at time of writing). I am told they will be back in stock soon (Twitter AdventVega).
  • Don’t worry about the absence of flash – there will be a fix for that.
  • Don’t worry that Android Market is not built in – there’s a fix via MoDaCo which  most of the reviews mention.
  • You will be sent to lesser tablets, even on Amazon, which all appear to be just about the same but in fact use the older Android. Look for version 2.2 Froyo at least.
  • Must have the capacitive screen. This lets you use all the latest(ish) touchscreen gestures, especially pinch and swipe (take a look at N-Trig – N-Act multi touch. Resistive screens don’t work this way.
  • Some android tablets are cheaper still, with slower processors and the resistive screens.
  • Gingerbread – I need to check if the Vega will be upgradable to the next Android version which is supposed to be designed with the larger tablet screens in mind.

OK, so why go for the 10 inch Vega instead of, for example, the Samsung Galaxy Tab?

The Galaxy Tab is about twice the size of my Galaxy mobile, works just as well, it seems, but it’s not quite big enough  to make that much difference. It’s also twice the price of the Advent Vega. Besides, I don’t want a small screen. The iPad screen is about right, the Advent Vegas is just as good in size. Horses for courses.

Will I wait for the next influx of 10 inch tablets? Not sure. If the Vegas come out soon I will be sorely tempted to get one straightaway. That’s just my way!

Watch this space!

More about the Advent Vega android tablet on their website: CLICK HERE