Setting Up a New Computer







If I’m setting up a new Windows computer, here are the steps I go through.

  • I prefer to have a wired ethernet connection when I setup – it’s a bit faster than wireless.
  • Plug in and do initial setup.
  • You will want to do a Custom Setup – don’t take their option to do a standard setup.
  • Watch out for checked boxes which might sign you up for services and updates which you don’t want.
  • Do a Windows Update and install all the updates.
  • Don’t install the Anti-virus that comes with the computer – Remove it from your computer.
  • Microsoft Defender will then be activated. If not, make sure it is turned on and update virus definitions
  • Also remove any Crapware that came with the computer. Mcafee-Ebay- Here’s a good link to help with that. You might try this also –
  • Remove Java from programs if it is installed
  • Remove icons from Desktop that won’t be used.
  • Change Desktop Icon Size
  • Change Text Size
  • Add Admin Users with passwords
  • Change main user to Standard account.
  • Create Recovery Media – usually each computer has its own way of doing this. It may even prompt you to do this when you first set it up.
  • Microsoft Defender is already installed and you don’t need to install any other anti-virus. You will probably be prompted to install this when you take off the other virus software. Note- Steve Gibson recommends only using Windows Defender. Your computer is actually less secure with additional anti-virus software.
  • Partition hard drive into two parts – one for the OS and one for Data.
  • Put Notepad on the Desktop and Toolbar
  • Download and Install Steganos Locknote from Sourceforge
  • – installs many programs at once? VLC – Audacity – LibreOffice – Sumatra PDF – Quicktime – it’s also crapware free!
  • Install Google Chrome – it seems to have a bit more security these days with its sandboxes and automatic updates of flash and reader. Make it the default browser.
  • Turn on – File – View – Extensions. Do a search in HELP to find this.
  • Install Libre Office or Microsoft Office if they have it.
  • Install accounts for everyone in the family.
  • Make sure the main account is a STANDARD account. Only give Admin privileges to accounts that are not meant to be used every day. Make sure Admin accounts have passwords.
  • Set up a Guest account for friends who need to use your PC.
  • Install VLC – BEST video player
  • Install Lastpass for passwords and/or Steganos LockNote. Make sure you setup Lastpass so that it logouts when you close the browser or after a period of time. 
  • Install SyncToy
  • Copy files from your backup to the new computer – the Standard Account.
  • Open Gmail – Login and change settings.
  • Install other programs that might be needed.
  • Put common programs on the Desktop.
  • Change Windows default programs to Chrome, VLC etc.
  • Check for latest Windows Updates and set for Automatic Updates
  • If you have access to their printer, install the drivers and give it a test. On a new computer it may download and install the drivers automatically
  • Download and run Belarc Advisor. Copy/Paste the software Key Codes into a Secure Note in LastPass or some other secure location.
  • Once you have got everything setup the way you want it, “Create a Restore Point.”
  • System Backup – the new computers don’t come with any disks at all. After you are finished with your changes and installing all your new software – make a BACKUP and a SYSTEM REPAIR DISK.
  • THEN you can do the below:
  • If they have an old computer, you can take out the old hard drive, attach it to a USB converter.  Here’s what I use .  Before you do anything else you want to run MSE on the old hard drive to remove any spyware/viruses. I found four viruses on the old hard drive – all involving JAVA .
  • Then copy your documents to your new computer.  I was told that Best Buy wanted $180 to do this!
  • You may need to retrieve old passwords from the old computer.
  • Setup OpenDNS on your computer or even better, your router.
  • The last thing I did was add a couple of other User Administrator Accounts.
  • Note – Best Buy will take your old computer for recycling – make sure you DON’T give them your old hard drive. You can use that for backup.
  • If you’re giving your old computer to charity, make sure you run Dban to wipe your old hard drive.
  • I also recommend that most people subscribe to an online Cloud backup service. Carbonite will do most of the data files on one computer for $59/year.
  • Make a Label – “Keep Computer on Sunday Night.”
  • When you’ve got the computer the way you want it use Acronis True Image WD edition to clone the drive to a WD backup external hard drive. Note – it has to be a WD drive.
Posted in Computer - New | 1 Comment

Voting Online

I’m doing some research on voting online and will use this page to do some testing.

This is the voting link from

This is the Results link.

It does allow you to only allow one vote per machine.
I have found that each device I own – laptop, phone and desktop are each allowed one vote. Even when I go to Incognito Mode, that does not seem to make any difference.

They have different levels of security. I did not use the IP security test as they advised not to do that.



Posted in Misc | Leave a comment

Password Length Options

Here’s an interesting article on Github about the most common length for passwords. Eight characters is the most common length.

Here are some of their recommendations.

  • 8 characters is the most common length.
  • They recommend a length of 12 or 13, but if you’re using Lastpass, there’s no reason not to make longer passwords.
  • Always use special characters.
  • Longer is better.
  • Start with a special character.
  • Pad your password with special characters.
  • User upper and lower case, numbers and special characters.


Posted in Passwords, Security | Leave a comment

Netgear AC1750 (R6400)

netgearrouter -600

After three years my old router finally bit the dust and so I had to make a decision on which router to install as a replacement. The Wirecutters upgrade model, the Netgear AC1750 was the router I decided to try. Their recommended model –  TP-Link Archer C7 (v2) – had two factors against it – it’s user interface and lack of advanced controls. For $20.00 more I got those features.

Here are some notes on the installation.

  • You don’t need to run a CD anymore.
  • You don’t need an ethernet connection to do the setup.
  • I did the installation over wifi.
  • They have very clear printed instructions.
  • Routers now have a preinstalled secure wifi with its own 12 character password. For most situations this is probably ok and will keep people from forgetting to setup a secure wifi.
  • You can change the SSID and password if you wish.
  • You can also setup a secure Guest Network for friends.
  • UPnP is turned on by default – I turned this off.
  • The Administrator account still has default passwords. You will need to change these also. They also give you Security Questions to restore your account.
  • This particular router had a security flaw according to Wirecutter, but it has been patched. I’m impressed by Netgear in recognizing the problem and fixing it.
  • The router looks for updates during the installation process and downloads and installs them.
  • I did register the router to get further security updates.
  • The router seems to be as fast or slightly faster than the previous router.
  • I bought this at a local Walmart. Normallly, I would buy it at Amazon, but I wanted to install it the same day.

Note – this router is in the basement in a corner, so it’s not the best location. It does seem to work fine for all my needs in a two story house.

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Phone Call Problem

Recently on my Moto G phone, I have had a problem when I try to make a phone call.

I get a popup that shows the message below.

phone-popup - Edited

This has only been showing up for the last couple of weeks. I have not made any changes, so I assume that this is a problem caused by a Google Voice update.

I found the solution online.

  • Google Voice
  • 3 Lines icon
  • Settings
  • Phone number for outgoing calls
  • Select “No”
Posted in Google Voice, Misc | Leave a comment

Plot Multiple Locations on Google Maps


I was recently in charge of a local garden tour and wanted to create a map with the garden locations marked. I found that you can do this in Google Maps, but it’s a bit circuitous.

  • Open Google Drive
  • New
  • More
  • Google My Maps

Now you start entering each address that you want to mark and then select Add to Map.
Once you have all your addresses entered, I like to color code each stop by hovering your mouse over each address and selecting a color.

When you are done, you can share the map with other people or grab a Print Screen and save it as a JPG. One thing I did to make the picture better was to grab the Print Screen on my desktop monitor and then adjust it in Photoshop to create better contrast.


Posted in Google, Maps | Leave a comment

Phone Problem – Offline – No Network

phone-no-networkIn the last week, I have had trouble with my Moto G phone when away from home and trying to access the internet. I would get a “Offline -No Network” message.

I could make phone calls, but could not use Gmail, Calendar or any of my usual apps that required access to the internet. This occurred only when I was away from home and didn’t have access to my usual home wifi.

I immediately thought it was something I had done – some setting I had clicked on inadvertently, but that was not the case.

My answer was the standard answer that I give to friends on an almost weekly basis when they have computer problems – “Turn it off and then turn it back on.”

I did read on a T-Mobile page that they recommended to not only turn your phone off, but also to take out the battery. That would have been my second option, but it turned out I didn’t need to do that. I do know that many phones don’t allow you to remove the battery, so obviously that wouldn’t have been an option.

Hopefully, if you have this aggravating problem in the future, this simple solution will help you fix it.


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