Brand New Computer? Read Me First!
Did you think I was going to start out by telling you all to install WinPatrol as soon as you opened up your new computer? Guess again. I always try to write my articles from a different point of view and today may not be what you expect.
For the 2nd time I’ve had to return the Dell All-in-One Multi-Touch computer system that I’ve been dreaming about for months. The first unit had to go back because Dell shipped the wrong configuration. The 2nd system had to go back due to internal hardware failure. I should have known something was wrong when I could hear loose parts when I took the computer out of the box.
My point today is take a little time to insure your brand new computer is everything it should be or you may be sorry. Before you install your favorite software on your brand new system I have a few recommendations.
1) Create a physical folder for documentation.
This folder should include your invoice, Service Tag number, your customer number, Order or Purchase number and any information required to identify your purchase. Keep your original DVD’s in the folder. At some time in the future you will need them and want them handy.
If you ordered your computer online you probably created an account. Copy down your log in name and account password.
2) Know and understand your Return Policy.
Go online and print out the return policy for your computer. If you think you have 30 days think again.
I recently experienced the Dell return policy so I have some specific tips to pass along.
That’s not the date your computer arrived. If the computer is a gift or not planned to be used immediately you should keep reading this article.
My inappropriate tip is on your first call tell them there was an error in the system configuration. Imply that you ordered a more expensive configuration and you want to return quickly so you re-order a new system online. If you tell them the computer is broken you’ll be forced through a time consuming series of phone calls with technical support to document your system is really broken.
Lenovo says “Lenovo will accept the return or exchange of a product in its original, sealed package (except gift cards) for a full refund in cases of Lenovo error. Returns allowed for any other reason will be subject to a restocking fee equal to 15% of the purchase amount. All returns must be initiated within 21 days of the invoice date.“
Apple requests your attention immediately. “For eligible Mac, iPod, and third-party products, you have up to 14 calendar days from the time you receive your item(s) to initiate a return. A 10% restocking fee will be assessed for opened items. Shipping fees are not refundable.”
3) Keep all your packing materials.
Keep all the baggies and even the little twist ties available and pack them in the original box. Keep the original box somewhere safe “just in case”.
4) Run Available System Tests
Before installing any new software, including the final installation of the operating system, verify your hardware is working. It should meet the same test requirements it passed before it left factory no matter how many pot holes it hit along the way.
I know you’re excited but trust me, you never know what could have happen during shipment. If you know from the start that all your hardware works as expected you’re in a good position. You can probably be confident it will continue to work correctly for many years to come.
One of the improvements computer OEM’s have made over years has been to include diagnostic tests directly in the firmware. These tests are typically available by pressing one of the function keys while the system boots. Memory and hard drive tests may be time consuming but knowing you don’t have a hardware problem will make you feel better if your system dies after installing your favorite software.
5) Run all Windows System Updates
After you complete the installation of the operating system and before you start surfing the net, before you install your favorite programs like WinPatrol, you’ll want to run all available system updates. There are two reasons why this is important.
First, until you’ve run all the security updates your system is wide open for possible security breaches. Running updates will be a multi-step process. Once you run your first set of updates, there will be another set that depend on the previous updates before they can run. You should expect multiple re-boots during this process.
Secondly, running system updates may result in your system becoming unstable. I’ve written about my hatred of system updates before but on brand new machines updates bring an added dilemma.
Prior to shipping, your computer company will usually do a good job at testing the configuration you’ve requested. They want to make sure all the default hardware and software work together. That doesn’t mean they’ve tested your system with all the current updates including any new hardware drivers. This is specially a danger with new Windows 7 systems. I had one company update their drivers and software three times within an eight day period. You’ll want to know if your brand new computer is still like new and compatible after it’s been updated.
6) Have Fun
Isn’t it great to know you have a brand new system and everything works perfectly? Now you can follow everyone else’s advice and install all your favorite software like WinPatrol.