When you’re a non-techy, buying a new computer with a new operating system is only exciting up to the point where you have to start using it. A computer’s job is to simplify your life, not complicate it and an operating system change shouldn’t be the equivalent of a mid-life crisis. Still, most of us “regular” folks do tend to get a bit flustered and frustrated when dealing with such changes.
If it was up to this writer, all computers would have the same operating system for eternity. As this will never be the case, here are 5 simple steps for adapting to a new computer and/or operating system.
Read all About It
You’ll actually have to start using a new operating system to become really familiar with it, but you should also read about it. Simply using a new operating system, like Windows 8, won’t teach you everything you need to know about it and all the hidden gestures and shortcuts. Even with a more intuitive OS like Apple’s iOS, you will learn more tricks by reading about it than you would otherwise.
Familiarity Breeds Content
There’s no substitute for actually using a new operating system. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the screens and User Interface layout on your new computer. Before you can start making the best use of the new OS, it’s important to learn about new or different features. If you need to, make notes as you go along.
Big electronic brick and mortar stores are great places to go to ask questions about the latest hardware and to play around with it. These stores will have a variety of different devices for you to try out that will be running everything from Windows 8 to MacBook. You could also visit an Apple or Microsoft Store to try out the hardware and ask questions of the knowledgeable salespeople.
Transfer Your Files
If you haven’t already done so, back up the files from your old computer and transfer them to the new computer. If you’ve never backed up your files before (shame on you!) there are a few different ways to do it.
- Bootable Backup – This type of backup is sometimes called a “clone.” It’s like a spare tire for your car. If the primary drive on your computer dies, you can hook up the clone and reboot the computer from it. The downside is your computer will run slower when booted from an external drive.
- External hard drive – An external hard drive works by creating an archive of your changed and deleted files and keeps you backed up as you work, provided you remember to plug it in to a port regularly.
- Cloud Backups – This type of backup is the easiest to create and maintain. After the initial setup the software will automatically keep your computer backed up any time it is turned on and connected to the Internet.
Save Your Bookmarks, etc.
If you use Chrome on the old computer, sign in to your account and save your bookmarks, apps and extensions. When you sign in to the same browser on the new computer, your settings will show up automatically. Any changes made to your settings will be synced across all your devices. However, if you use another browser, you’ll have to sync your bookmarks manually by searching the folders were they are stored.
Update the Antivirus Program
Almost all new Windows computers now come with an antimalware program preinstalled but it probably won’t be updated and it won’t be the best there is, so you’ll need to update it and check the features it has. A good antimalware program should include the following:
- On-demand malware scan
- On-access malware scan
- Website rating
- Malicious URL blocking
- Phishing protection
- Behaviour-based detection
These days, antivirus services handle Trojans, rootkits, spyware, adware, ransomware and more. If you’re not happy with the program that came with the computer, uninstall it install one of your own choosing. PC Magazine rates some of the antimalware programs available, as well as some of the free antivirus tools available.
For the uninitiated, here’s a glossary of some of the terms:
- Malware – is software intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems
- Trojans – are often disguised as legitimate software and can be used by cyber-thieves and hackers trying to gain access to your system
- Phishing – is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by posing as a trustworthy individual or business
- Rootkits – are a collection of computer software, usually malicious, designed to enable access to a computer or areas of its software that would not otherwise be allowed
- Spyware – a type of malware that is installed on a computer without your knowledge in order to collect your private information
- Adware – is software that automatically displays or downloads unwanted advertising material when you’re online
- Ransomware – a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid