Help Me Set-up My New Laptop
June 29, 2019 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I just bought a new laptop and have some questions about setting it up. Details inside...

I just purchased a new HP laptop and am going to get it set up. I am mostly going to be browsing the net and using word processors and MAYBE spreadsheets. It is a windows OS.

What antivirus should I use?
What is considered the best/standard word processor?
Which browser?

Anything else that I should know or add/remove or set up in a certain fashion?

I also have iTunes on my old laptop. The music is on an external hard drive. This new laptop doesn't have a cd/dvd drive. I haven't added anything to my iPod in a while, but I'm not sure how this works.

A million thanks
posted by Alvin80 to Technology (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So this is a Windows 10 box?
  • Most people say the default Windows antivirus is good enough now. I have had no virus trouble using only it.
  • Maybe download Firefox for the browser. Or you can get a Tor-modified version of Firefox if you want added privacy.
  • There are decent free word processors, including free note apps like Evernote, that should be fine for common wordery. You could get a free Office clone like LibreOffice for word processing, spreadsheets, etc., for fancier stuff. If you work a lot with others, it might pay to use what your pals are using, so ask them.
  • I still use iTunes to manage podcasts on Windows 10, but I always get temporary system freezes when I subscribe to podcasts in iTunes. So I unsubscribed from all of them and just left them listed in iTunes but not automatically downloading. Instead, I download them manually when I see an interesting one sort to the top of the updated podcasts list. This seems to have solved the freeze problem.

posted by pracowity at 9:46 AM on June 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Microsoft word/office is the standard for word processing. Not sure they sell word separately anymore. $99/year for office 365, $249 for one time office 2019 purchase. Excel is part of office as well.

Windows 10 has microsoft defender built in, I only use that, but others may have a different opinion in extra antivirus.

I would suggest using Google chrome as a web browser, it's generally thought of as more secure than other options. But then Google has your info, depending on how you feel about that.
posted by TheAdamist at 9:51 AM on June 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ninite is great for getting a bunch of open-source software quickly and in a single package. I admit it's been a year or two since I've last used it, but it's what I use whenever I set up a new computer.
posted by msbrauer at 10:56 AM on June 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

The default Windows antivirus is fine.

Just use Google Docs unless you have very advanced word processing needs or you expect to be offline regularly. No need to install a program for this.

Use Chrome as your web browser.
posted by caek at 10:58 AM on June 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

Ads are one way malware get on your computer. To limit this I would use an adblocker with your browser. An adblocker will also speed up the time it takes to load up a website. The adblocker uBlock Origin by Raymond Hill gets good reviews and is what I use.

Chrome is a good browser. If you're privacy conscious though I would use Firefox. For privacy minded folks DuckDuckGo is a better default search engine than Google.
posted by mundo at 11:17 AM on June 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you want MS Office you can frequently get it for free through your job, especially if you work for the government or a nonprofit. You might also be able to get it if you are a student or have a .edu email address, see here.

Seconding ninite if you know what you might want off the list. If none of it sounds like you'd use it then don't bother.
posted by Wretch729 at 12:21 PM on June 29, 2019

With the $99 Office subscription you can add other users to the plan at no charge, plus you get 1TB of online storage. I swear I'm not shilling for MS, but compared to paid cloud storage prices it's pretty easy to squeeze a lot of value out of it if your circumstances fit.

I'd recommend Firefox for browsing. This thread has some good discussion of why, as does this one.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:03 PM on June 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

Stuff I install on a new laptop:
I quite like Winamp as a music player.
I still have iTunes because some podcasts are only at the iTunes store
VLC plays all media, including music, but I use it just for video. is a useful image program
Cloud Library because that's what the Library uses.
Kindle Reader because Amazon
Firefox uses fewer resources than Chrome; I have both. Windows has included IE and Edge, useful for paywalls, but not much else.

I am using Google Docs, Sheets, etc. these days, but for most professional purposes, MS Office is standard, and has a richer feature set.

Equally important is that on Win 10, I aggressively edit the tiles because I have preferences, and I uninstall stuff in Programs and Features that I don't want. If you feel comfortable, use Computer Management to make some services Manual or disabled. In my case, I'm confident I will not need the Fax service. There is a Startup Manager, as well.
posted by theora55 at 5:37 PM on June 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

Windows Defender or whatever the stock antivirus is
posted by rhizome at 1:59 AM on June 30, 2019

I would use Open Office. I've been using it for sometime and it works just fine. Besides, it's free.

Use VLC. If VLC can't play it, nothing will.

Fire Fox, Thunderbird.

Good luck, I'll be doing the same on Tuesday when I get my new machine. I'm going to try Ninite.
posted by james33 at 5:42 AM on June 30, 2019

If you're going to use a free installable office suite instead of Google Docs you should probably use LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice. This has arguably been the case for about 8-or-more years now, but here's one fairly recent article discussing why.
posted by glonous keming at 9:27 AM on June 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Media Monkey is a good music manager and will do Podcasts and Audiobooks as well - anything that comes in mp3 or mp4 files. You tell it where the music is and it does the rest. I use it to copy music and audiobooks to my iPhone, but it works with all mobile/portable devices.

Firefox is my preference and I run ad blockers and an add on called No Coin to prevent bitcoin-type mining.

Are you actually word processing or are you just managing text files? For text files, Notepad++ (two plusses) is worlds better than notepad or wordpad.
posted by soelo at 7:17 AM on July 1, 2019

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