Since its release Windows 10 secured the position of the next flagship Windows OS on the market. A popular OS for laptops, desktops, and business workstations, 10 follows the classic Windows desktop interface style of XP and 7. While remaining comfortably familiar to the PC clientele 10 also offers modern aesthetic themes, enhanced security, and new functionality.
1) Run Windows Update
After configuring your new device and booting into Windows 10 for the first time, run Windows Update to download and install system updates. After the second or third reboot, browse through each page in the Settings menu and turn off all of the features that communicate with Microsoft, like Cortana, to enhance the system’s privacy.
2) Setup Security Software
While a myriad of antivirus software packages offer to protect your computer from viruses and other malicious programs for free, Windows 10 comes with a comprehensive security program built-in: Windows Defender. Windows Update automatically updates Windows Defender’s antivirus signature definitions. Type ‘Windows Defender’ in the start menu search field and open it to confirm that the security service is enabled. Since a system should only run one antivirus program, make sure to disable Windows Defender if using another program.
Additionally, installing the Adblock Plus and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials browser extensions provides two hefty layers of consumer protection. We’ll discuss these below.
3) Install Chrome and Firefox
Windows 10 ships with the Edge web browser, the successor to Internet Explorer. Although considerable improvements set Edge apart from Internet Explorer, it still lags behind the competition in terms of performance, security, and features.
Though not without security concerns of its own, Chrome offers the best browsing experience on Windows and maintains the largest market share among web browsers. Install a second web browser as a backup, an essential utility for any system. Firefox serves as a reliable backup, though its reputation suffered badly after the recent revelation that websites remained cached even after clearing the browser history.
4) Set DuckDuckGo as Your Default Search Engine
Whichever browsers you choose to install, browse with consumer protection. Internet privacy advocates recommend the popular DuckDuckGo search engine, which also dramatically increases online productivity with its indispensable !bang search feature. !Bang commands quickly access search results from almost any internet resource. Additionally consider setting your home page to start.ddg.gg for convenience.
5) Get Adblock Plus and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
Get the Adblock Plus add-on to avoid unwanted advertisements for a faster and more pleasant browsing experience. Though the subject of some controversy for depriving websites of advertising revenue, running this indispensable browser extension actually empowers users. In an age where many social media platforms reward controversy to generate traffic, Adblock Plus gives clients control over which platforms can and can’t benefit from their visit.
The recently launched DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials add-on provides an additional layer of consumer protection by blocking trackers. The add-on also generates a privacy grade for websites and keeps statistics on which tech firms track users most frequently.
Consumers need not feel guilty about this. The privacy policies of most major tech firms today mirror those of a private investigator peaking in your window with a telephoto lens. The PI knows what you eat and drink, who you associate with, and when you go away on holiday or stay home sick. Adblock Plus and DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials at least draw a curtain over your window. However, in addition to the benefits of enhanced consumer protections, these two add-ons likely make browsing faster.
6) Install a Clipboard Manager like Wlipper
Clipboard managers provide another indispensable utility to improve efficiency, especially when multitasking. With a variety of clipboard manager applications to choose from, Wlipper offers a simple and reliable interface to start with.
Since Wlipper has no installer, manually move the program folder into the Program Files (x86) folder after downloading it. Next, to make Wlipper run on startup, create a shortcut to the executable and move it to the Startup folder (go to Run and open shell:startup to quickly find the folder).
Next make Wlipper appear in the notification area to quickly access your clipboard history. Select which items appear in the notification area under Taskbar settings.
Now click on the Wlipper icon in the notification area to quickly browse through and access the clipboard history. Clicking on an old item in the history copies it to the clipboard.
7) Install an Office Suite
Available for free, both OpenOffice and LibreOffice function well as office suites. At the time of this writing LibreOffice offers compatibility with slightly more file formats.
8) Install VLC
This popular media player plays almost any file format. Even when another media player is preferred, VLC provides a light and reliable backup.
9) Install File Archiver/Compressor Software
While Windows Explorer handles ZIP files well enough, it can’t open the RAR or TAR files. For these files every system should have a good archiver and compressor program ready to go.
10) Relocate the Documents Folders to a Hard Drive (for systems with solid state drives)
For systems sharing an HDD and SSD, save space on the more costly SSD by transferring large media files (photos and videos) to the hard drive. Program files and system files belong on the faster SSD since these need to be accessed more quickly than media files.
Simply copying these files and folders onto your hard drive will not change the location of the Documents folder in Windows menus and applications. Fortunately Windows can handle relocating this folders for you. Simply right click on the Documents folder, select Properties, then go to Location, and select Move.
The software packages and configuration steps recommended in this article should create a lean, versatile PC and save the user inconvenience when performing new tasks or encountering unknown file types. With these chores complete, the final step is to transfer user documents.
Feel free to suggest other indispensable configuration steps for a new Windows system in the comments section below.