New Laptop Best Practices
March 25, 2015 6:44 PM   Subscribe

I have a new laptop (PC, Windows 7 Pro, Toshiba). What should I do/download/install/uninstall/set up to keep it running in tiptop brand new shape?

I'd like to make sure my new laptop starts out as clean as possible, minus any factory-installed crap. I also want to have the best and most current antivirus software on there as well. This answer is pretty thorough, but is also 5 years old. What's the current version of that? All I've done so far is plug it in, turn it on, go through the "first time setup" windows, and open IE long enough to download Chrome.

Bonus Question: What's the easiest way/best cable to get stuff off of my old laptop and on to my new one? I'm an avid Evernote user and a mostly clueless/occasional Dropbox user, if that helps with certain things. I've got a crapton of photos and fonts. No real special needs beyond that.

posted by booksherpa to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
The profiles maintained by mefites samsara and deezil are a great place to start.
posted by rongorongo at 6:50 PM on March 25, 2015 [7 favorites]

I'm loading a new-to-me computer right now. Slimdrivers is one of my faves for keeping things in tip-top shape. Patchmypc is also good for keeping programs up to date.

The easiest way to move the stuff is connect both computers to your home network and share the files. Dropbox will take forever. If you don't have a home network I've heard you can use a regular ethernet cable to connect the machines.
posted by irisclara at 7:17 PM on March 25, 2015

You should also check out to stream installation of some of the more basic apps. It creates a silent install of the selected apps without bloat or adware.
posted by palionex at 7:19 PM on March 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

What's the easiest way [...]

Evernote stores your stuff in the cloud, so the easiest way is to just install Evernote on the new laptop, sign in, and synchronize it to get a copy of all your Evernote stuff to the new laptop. (After you are synchronized on the new machine, you can uninstall Evernote from the old laptop if you aren't going to be using it anymore.) I believe it's the same with Dropbox: your files are in the cloud already, so you just need to install Dropbox on the new laptop and let it synchronize with the cloud copy of your Dropbox files.

But that might take some time because you need to download all your stuff from teh cloud. If you like messing with networking, you can connect the laptops together with a length of regular Ethernet cable, share a drive on the old laptop with the new laptop, and copy your files from that shared drive over the cable to the new laptop without going out to the cloud for anything. Google something like "Share files between PCs using LAN cable" to see suggestions. For example. You shouldn't need a crossover cable, even if the procedure tell you you do. You just need to make sure you do the addressing and sharing properly, so pay attention to those steps.
posted by pracowity at 5:45 AM on March 26, 2015

I use WinDirStat to check on my PC once a month or so. There's almost always some surprise in there that is eating up performance or space way more than I thought. (Usually some backup process or another, or a company directory that got overloaded with images by someone else.)
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 8:49 AM on March 26, 2015 is nice to install a bunch of programs crap free. (As stated above. My bad)
posted by nostrada at 9:56 AM on March 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would recommend a disk cloning of your unadulterated laptop. This is what system restore in Windows is supposed to do but these software do it so much better.Most can do incremental backups so any changes over time can be added as new image.

The best reason for disk cloning: Keep a piece of that shiny new laptop feel in a box. At some point in future when it gets slow due to myriad reasons(viruses,ad-dons,browser toolbars, windows just being old, fragmentation,...etc) , Flash the clone image and BAM! New shiny laptop again.

Lifehacker has a good list of free and paid ones
posted by radsqd at 10:37 AM on March 26, 2015

I don't use Windows anymore, but if I had to go back, I would seriously investigate Chocolatey NuGet. And maybe chef / puppet instead of a disk cloning.
posted by pwnguin at 11:04 PM on March 26, 2015

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