Your business will need a new computer. This is a fact for nearly all businesses, but many small businesses lack the technical resources to know what to do once the computer has been purchased. This is a simple guide designed to help the small business owner who has just purchased or will be purchasing a new computer.
Following these steps will help ensure a smooth transition into your new computer, and avoid future problems that could have been avoided. This is meant as a basic guide. Because the steps can be so different from manufacturer-to-manufacturer, I can’t provide a step by step guide to creating recovery disks. Information this specific should be provided by the manufacturer of your computer.
Know What You Need
Spend some time researching what your needs are, and learn what each computer comes with. If you need an entire setup, then not only will the tower be needed, but the mouse, keyboard, monitor, speakers, and any other peripherals will be needed as well.
Try to find out what kind of speed is needed. If the computer will be used primarily for emails, then you can get away with a low-end computer versus if the computer is needed for video production which can end up costing thousands.
Read the reviews that are available. No use in learning a lesson that a ton of people already had to learn. Remember, sales people are paid to sell. This isn’t to say that all sales people will blatantly lie to you, but they have a conflict of interest. Some people might use the argument “most sales people aren’t commissioned any more”, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t required to hit sales goals, and credit card application numbers to get bonuses, or keep their jobs.
I like to read the negative reviews, but keep in mind to look for trends. Don’t listen to just one reviewer, because their experience can be caused by a number of factors. But if there are 5 or 10 people with the same problems, then consider that carefully!
Check The Computer Box!
Always examine the computer’s box before leaving the store. If there are any severe gouges, or crushed corners, consider getting a different one. I understand that boxes are meant to protect the device inside, but computers are also sensitive pieces of hardware.
A simple drop may create huge issues up the road and it isn’t worth the risk. Additionally, shady stores might be difficult with returns as well. I haven’t had this problem too often, but like everyone else, I know people who have had problems with this. If you’re a gambler, you can try for a discount due to the box being crushed.
Don’t Buy Warranties
Unless you’ve spent a lot of time having your computers worked on, warranties really won’t help you. Often, they are extremely expensive, and few people use them. There is usually about a 15 – 30 day return period, and a 1 year warranty from the manufacturer (covering defects).
There are some people who swear by extended warranties, but that is because they’ve used them. The majority of people won’t, which is why the store sells them in the first place! Unless you’re Aquaman using a new computer, buying extended warranties will be a losing proposition in the long run. They might be used once or twice out of all the times they are purchased, but you’ll pay for it dearly.
Check The Box Again
Once back to your office, home, or home office open the new computer’s box and ensure your new computer came with everything that was expected. Check against the list on the new computer’s box, as well as what was advertised at the store.
Some Assembly Required
As you are assembling the computer, examine each piece of hardware for any visible signs of damage. I also suggest labeling around each wire going into the back of the computer. Some are color coded, but others won’t be, such as your USB devices. This will save from following wires around if you have to do something later.
Once everything is plugged in, start the computer and listen for anything that sounds out of the ordinary. Don’t get paranoid, as computers will sound different, but listen for distinctly bad sounds.
Create Recovery CDs
Once the computer is running, create recovery disks. These can be used as a last resort to restore the computer back to its original state should anything bad happen. Make these disks, label them clearly, and keep them in a safe, obvious, accessible place.
Do not skip this step. Even recovery partitions (a special section on your hard drive) can become damaged, so do not depend on it. Create recovery disks.
Once recovery disks are created, begin to remove bloatware. Bloatware is software that isn’t needed and is often added to the computer because the manufacturer was compensated for it. For my computer, I had to remove:
- Wild Tangent games
- A bunch of manufacturer proprietary software
- 2 eReaders
- and a couple of other softwares that I can’t recall
Bloatware just gets in the way, takes up space, and contributes little, if not detracts from your computer experience. Remove it early, and get it over with.
Install Your Applications
Finally, once all of that is done, you’re ready to use your new computer. Install the applications which are needed for your business, and enjoy.
Follow these steps, and it should help make your new business purchase a much less confusing, and more enjoyable experience.
There are many other things that you can consider, but they are going to vary based on your environment and needs. This is why I didn’t go into specifics such as configuring firewalls, installing virus software, scheduling restore points, etc. The possibilities are limitless, but I hope this basic guide gets your new computer up and running.