This past week I purchased two new laptops for the extended family. They didn’t want to pay the extra price for the Apple thing so I encouraged them to wait for Windows 7 to arrive. Thus far that decision was a good one. Windows 7 was easy to configure and gave me zero problems even with some older hardware and software they wanted. Here’s what I did to get their Windows 7 laptop ready for the non-techie to use and enjoy:
- Uninstall All Useless Programs (crapware as we call it). Not as much crapware installed on the laptops I picked up which was a nice surprise but I still had a few programs to uninstall. Alternatively you could just reinstall Windows 7 to ensure it is a completely fresh install but I didn’t want to take the time in this case.
- Configure users and passwords.
- Uninstall the “trial” virus scanner program that was already installed and instead download and install Windows Security Essentials which is a very lightweight virus scanner. If you feel like you need more you might want to install AVG Free Anti-Virus which is a capable, but lightweight program I’ve used on other installs.
- Install Spybot Search And Destroy. Yes my family (especially the extended family) will need this eventually
- Install VLC Media Player – no more “why won’t this file play on my PC?” comments
- Install CCleaner. Best way to keep that PC clean for free
- Install 7Zip. Best unzipping program available and it’s free
- Install Google Talk Chat so they can use that newfangled video camera built into their laptop. Set them up with a google account if they don’t yet have one.
- Install DOPDF for free printing to PDF capability
- Pick a nice theme and/or background for them. Add a few simple, but useful gadgets like weather, time and a photo slideshow.
- Set up Remote Desktop or in my case I installed the free version of LogMeIn which I use to remote into my relatives PCs when they need assistance (yes I seem to be the free helpdesk guy for the family…)
- Do a complete backup with windows restore and save those DVDs somewhere safe. Set up a regular backup plan.
Keep in mind these are laptops for family members that live a ways away from me and will be used for those with lower-than-average technical skills. For instance my mom asked “what is this Media Center thing?” I let her play around in it and she asked “can I record TV on here?” I quickly said “no mom” and let it be. It’s just not worth it in this case ;)
What about you? Do you have a different method? Anything in particular you do with a new laptop – particularly Windows 7?