If any of you are anything like me then not too long after getting a new gadget, you will want to tweak and tune it. Problem is that very often this may cause many a blue screen error message, in the case of a PC. Here are 10 things that you can safely tweak!
1. Internet Preparation
ANTI ANTI ANTI!!! Oh sorry, I meant to say that you need to have internet security software installed. For example; Anti Virus and Anti Spyware. If you do not want to spend money on the software, for what ever reason you may heave, download a free version of the software. Grisoft has free versions in the flavour of AVG Virus. As for the Spyware, AVG now incorporates this in their paid version of AVG Internet Security.
2. Desktop Settings
Firstly, lets switch on a lovely little feature known as Clear Type. To do this, open Control Panel and then open the Display Properties control panel. From there, navigate to the Appearance tab and click the Effects button.
Click the second check box for ‘Smoothing Font Edges’ and select the ClearType option from the list. Click OK a few times and you should see the fonts displayed much more crisply on the screen. For tired eyes this will save you many a headache, especially if you have to stare at a monitor screen all day.
3. Filing System
By default, Microsoft hides system files, does not display file extensions and big icons are displayed instead of the more useful detailed list. To be more productive while using a PC follow these steps.
open Windows Explorer and navigate to Tools | Folder Options on the menu and then to the View tab. Next, you want to look down the list of checkboxes and radio buttons to find the one that says “Show hidden files and folders”. Also check the following boxes; ‘Display the contents of the system folders’ and ‘Display the full path in the address bar’. Also uncheck; ‘Hide extensions for know file types’ and ‘Hide protected operating system files’. Remember to click on ‘Apply to all folders’.
Please be extremely careful. It is always great to have loads of free space to store your MP3’s, but now that you are displaying system files as well it is a bit of a risk. But the benefits will outweigh the risks.
4. Screen Resolution
This is actually a very simple task, but it will make a world of difference. Adjust your screen resolution.
To do this, get back into your display properties and navigate to the ‘Settings’ tab. Here you have the option to adjust your display colours and also screen resolution. I suggest using a resolution of at least 1024×768. But this is more a case of what u may feel comfortable with. While using an LCD monitior it is a good idea to use the same resolution as listed in the monitors documentation.
Although your copy of windows should already have been activated, it may happen that when the installer forgets to activate your copy. Don’t worry, this does not copy the contents of your hard disk over to Microsoft’s data farms. It just makes sure your copy is legit.
6. Internet Browser
Everyone has their own personal links and favourites on their PC. Problem is that these shortcuts are not going to be on your new computer. The transfer process is simple: First, export your browser favorites to a file. The process is completed in the same way regardless whether you are using IE or Firefox. Import and Export is found under the file menu.
Simply export to a file, copy the file to the new PC and import. Done.
7. The Cavalry
Every PC needs a few basic tools and applications installed. Here are some that I reckon are a must have for any computer:
- Adobe Reader – PDF Viewer
- Microsoft Office – Presentation, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, E-Mail Etc.
- K-Lite Codec Pack – For your video and audio pleasure
- Anti Virus and Spyware – Refer back for details
- CD/DVD burning software
A few things to remember as well; if you are running a system with Office 2007, I suggest u change the saving options. Make sure it is set to save as 97-2003 format. This takes care of backward compatibility headaches. This is done through the otions menu for the application in question (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
8. Mail and Home Page
Now that you have your e-mail client and browser installed, it is time to configure them. Specifying the browser home page is an easy thing to do, but it is also quite necessary. The default home page for browsers is not where you want to go every time you fire it up. The e-mail client configuration will be dependent on the application and the service provider that you use. In Outlook, the configuration is under Tools -> E-mail Accounts, which starts a wizard that will walk you through the process, step-by-step.
9. Power Toys
According to many Tech sites, free tools such as Power Toys are a must have. Personally I have never made great use of such tools but they can simplify your Windows PC life by making it easier to change default configurations, synchronize across computers, and manipulate files and photographs Etc.
10. Backup – Systems State and registry
Once you have your new PC setup the way you like it, you take a few moments to backup your hard drive and save the system files and the registry. Taking these steps to generate a ‘Restore Point’ will create a new base configuration for your PC. This is a state you can return to if you decide to do additional tweaking that bombs your system or if it just bombs in the future.