It’s a decision that comes with equal doses of excitement and overwhelm: getting a new computer! Unlike popping out to the shops for a new toaster, choosing the right computer comes with so many questions, most of which are usually asked in some sort of alien language. Helpful sales people offering RAM as it were a side of fries, measuring CPU speeds in ‘cores’, and listing specs that mean nothing around what you actually want to do.
That’s where we start. Not with tricky language that only makes sense to other computer geeks, we simply find out what you plan to use your computer for, then help you do it. Depending on your needs, we may even be able to provide the computer right there and then. Other times, we’ll offer guidance on what’s in the stores and make sure you’re equipped with all the magic words that get you walking out with what you need, and only what you need (at the perfect price!).
Then comes the real fun.
Once you’ve got that new machine home and out of the box, you’ve inhaled that new tech smell and taken plenty of selfies to remember the moment, the overwhelm can come flying back in. Which cord goes where? It doesn’t work like your old one! Why is it doing that?! How to put programs back on? Does it come with security already loaded? If you’ve had your old computer for a few years, you know you’re in for a bit of inconvenience, no matter how shiny the replacement is. What do you need to do to make the new computers yours?
Move your old files.
One thing most people forget during their new computer bliss-phase is how to get information off your old computer and onto your new one. If you know a thing or two about moving files to a flash drive, then this can be pretty easy as long as you put the files back in the same location. If your old computer is too broken to boot, this can be a real problem. You can either turn the old hard drive into an external drive or copy the data onto a USB stick using a bootable flash drive. This can get kind of hairy if you aren’t a technician, so you may want to leave that up to the professionals.
Set up your email.
Maybe you access your e-mail using a web interface. If so, then you’re done! Simply go to the same website you are used to going to and your e-mail should be there (as long as you remember your login password). However, if you use a local client (Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail), setting up email can cause headaches even for a tech person. Getting the settings perfect can sometimes be more error than success. The most common problem we see is email that can receive, but not send. It’s a frustrating problem, especially when you’re sending important emails. We can set your email up successfully and ensure it both sends and receives, as well as add in any additional accounts you’d like to manage from the same app.
Save your favorites.
All those bookmarks you’ve made and carefully sorted (or not) are important. You may even have different collections of favorites in different browsers and the last thing you want to do is to find those pages again. Most web browsers have an ‘export’ function that can bundle all of your favorites up into a neat little file that can then be transferred to your new computer and restored. If this is above your pay-grade, we can retrieve your old favorites and put them onto your new computer, making your browser experience look and feel exactly as it did before, only faster.
Set up your software.
Quite often these days, software doesn’t come on a CD. While that’s forward thinking and reducing waste, don’t you miss having a disk you could install from and the license key taped to the back? We sure do! If you don’t have your original installation disks (or you never had one), you may be able to download them from the internet, just be careful you are getting it from a reputable site! If you ware having trouble, we can help you re-download your programs and reinstall them as long as you can find your licensing. As technicians, we also tend to go one step beyond and make sure the new software is optimized, updated and working well. While we’re doing that, we make sure your anti-virus is up-to-date and you’re as secure as possible against threats.
Connect extra devices
Sometimes it’s a matter of knowing what cord goes where or getting the right adapter, but sometimes new devices can present software problems. Printers, webcams, game controllers, etc all have unique drivers that need to be installed before they can work properly. Windows 10 is great at picking most of these up automatically, but if they’re not playing nice or your new computer is suddenly missing the correct plug, you may need to go to the manufacturer’s site to get the newest driver or even replace it if it is too old.