Whether you got a new laptop for school or work, as a gift, or just because you needed one, you’re probably eager to start using it. Before you can start using your new laptop, there are a few things you need to do to set it up. Here are some quick tips to get you started.

Follow the Setup Process

When you first turn on your laptop, you will be prompted to go through a setup process to configure the basic features of your laptop. This setup process includes steps like:

  • Choosing your language and time zone
  • Connecting to a Wi-Fi network or Ethernet connection
  • Creating or signing into your Microsoft account (on a Windows PC), Google account (on a Chromebook), or Apple ID (on a Mac)
  • Creating a password (and PIN, on Windows)
  • Adjusting your location and privacy settings
  • Syncing other devices, like your phone or Bluetooth hardware (if desired)
  • Setting up voice assistants like Cortana or Siri.


Some laptops have additional parts of the setup process depending on their features. For instance, laptops with fingerprint scanners or facial recognition technology may prompt you to set up these features during the setup process. 

After completing the setup process, you’ll be brought to your desktop. But you’re not done yet.

Check for Updates

Your new laptop’s operating system may not be completely up-to-date. Updates to your operating system often provide important security patches, and not installing these updates can leave your device vulnerable to viruses and exploits from hackers. Checking for updates as soon as you finish the setup process means you won’t get interrupted by an update later.

On Windows

Windows frequently releases updates, so if using windows, it’s essential to check for updates to ensure your laptop is safe.

  • Open Settings.
  • Open the section for updates. On Windows 10, the pathway is “Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.” On Windows 11, the pathway is “Settings > Windows Update.”
  • Click “Check for Updates.” Windows will download and install updates on its own, although some updates may require you to restart the computer to take effect.


On Mac

Macs have less frequent software updates, but that doesn’t mean their updates are less important. Many are designed to fix massive security flaws or bugs.

  • Click the Apple logo in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
  • Choose “System Preferences…”
  • Click “Software Update.”


Install Antivirus Software

It’s always a good idea to install antivirus software on your computer to protect against malware from rogue websites and advertisements. Some antivirus software, like Norton and Kaspersky, require a paid subscription. Other antivirus software, like Malwarebytes or Avast, are free.

Adjust Your Battery Settings

A new laptop battery will last for quite some time on a single charge. You can adjust your laptop’s settings to preserve the battery life better so that it doesn’t die as quickly when you use it.

  • Windows: Settings > System > Battery
  • Mac: System Preferences > Battery


You might also choose to adjust other settings that affect your battery life, like turning down the brightness of your screen.

Turn On “Find My…”

Laptop theft is a common problem. Windows and Mac have a tool to help locate a missing laptop and deactivate or power it down if you believe it’s stolen.

On Windows

On Windows, laptop tracking is called Find My Device. It’s controlled through your Microsoft account.

  • Open Settings.
  • Click “Update & Security.”
  • Click “Find my device.”
  • Find the name of your laptop and click “Change.”


On Mac

On Mac, laptop tracking is called Find My Mac. It’s controlled through your Apple ID.

  • Click the Apple logo in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
  • Choose “System Preferences…”
  • Click “Apple ID.”
  • Click “iCloud.”
  • Check the box next to “Find My Mac.” If you’re asked to enable Location Services or get a message that Find My Mac wants permission to use your location, click “Allow.”


Transfer Files from Your Previous Computer

Chances are, you’re coming from an old computer and want to transfer your files to the new one. The best way to do this is to use an external hard drive or cloud storage service. This allows you to copy the files to your new laptop while backing them up to an outside source in case something goes wrong.

Remove Unnecessary Programs

New laptops often come with pre-installed programs that you may not use, like games or unwanted antivirus software. These programs, often called bloatware, can take up valuable storage space and slow down your laptop. Uninstalling these programs will free up room on your laptop and may help it run faster. 

Many online guides can help you identify and remove bloatware if you’re unsure which programs to remove. 

Install New Apps

While your new laptop has a vast assortment of apps and programs, it likely doesn’t have all the apps you need. You can use your device’s app store (Microsoft Store on Windows, App Store on Mac), your web browser, and more to download and run the apps you want on your new laptop.

Once the new apps are installed, you can change your default apps from the OS’ to your new program. For instance, Windows uses Microsoft Edge as its default web browser, but you can easily change your default browser to Google Chrome after it’s installed.

Configure Backups

While it’s rare, something can go catastrophically wrong with your laptop, sometimes to the point of requiring a full system restore. Backing up your laptop means you can restore all your data if something goes wrong.


Personalize Your Laptop

Your laptop can reflect your personality and help you stand out from the crowd. There are plenty of ways to personalize your laptop, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Change Your Desktop Background

The default desktop background isn’t appealing to everyone. You can change your desktop background to a photo or color already available on your computer or set a custom image as your desktop background through your system settings.

Set Light or Dark Theme

Most laptops use “light theme” (black text on a white background) by default. Through the settings of your computer or certain apps, you can change it to “dark theme” (white text on a black background), which some people find easier on the eyes. You can also set your computer to switch between light and dark depending on the time of day.

Buy Creative Accessories

Various colorful or creative accessories protect your laptop, show off your style, or both. You can easily personalize your laptop with things like:

  • Webcam covers
  • Keyboard covers
  • Laptop cases
  • Stickers or decals
  • Laptop bags


A New Start (up)

Getting a fresh start with a new laptop is always an exciting experience. Setting up new computers has become easier and more complicated, but tech tips from smartreadz.com will help you. Learn more about the newest technology today.