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The Important Things You Should Do When You Get a New Computer

Dave Greenbaum , Gawker Media

The Important Things You Should Do When You Get a New Computer

You've just gotten) a new computer. Nice! You're probably excited to tear open the box and set it up, but there are a few boring-but-important tasks that will save you disappointment and even heartbreak (not to mention money) later. Here are a few things you should do whenever you buy a new PC.

Save Your Serial Number

The Important Things You Should Do When You Get a New Computer

Your computer probably has a serial number on the bottom or the back, and you'll probably need this one day. They can often wear off over time, especially on a laptop-plus sometimes they're just not easy to access when you're using the PC. While you're unboxing, take a picture of that serial number and toss it into Evernote or you're favorite cloud storage service. This number is probably on the box and much easier to read than the number of the device. If it's a Windows PC, you may also want to grab a snapshot of your Windows license key, too, in case you ever need to reinstall.

Create a Recovery Disc or Drive

The Important Things You Should Do When You Get a New Computer

Speaking of reinstalling, there may come a time where something goes wrong and you need to start from scratch. Some computers may come with recovery CDs or drives, but many these days don't. Ordering CDs from places like Dell, HP and Lenovo takes both time and money, so if your computer didn't come with recovery media, make your own now. Mac users can create a USB stick of your operating system following these instructions, and Windows users can follow this guide.

Check Your Surge Protector

The Important Things You Should Do When You Get a New Computer

Depending on how often you have power surges, your surge protector can actually lose effectiveness over time. That flashing amber light on there isn't there for special effects and probably shouldn't be flashing. If it's flashing, now's a good time to get a new one. Heck, if you don't know when you bought it and how much surge you are protected against, now could be a good time to get a better one. One of these would be a good start.

Add It to Your Homeowner's or Renter's Insurance

The Important Things You Should Do When You Get a New Computer

Speaking of protection, you may want some insurance for your new device, especially if it's more valuable than the average PC. If you already have homeowner's or renter's insurance, most insurance companies will allow you to schedule a computer so you've got additional protection independent of your main policy. Scheduling an item will often cover mishaps not covered under the main policy and often has an independent cheaper deductible.

Set a Reminder for Your Warranty Expiration

The Important Things You Should Do When You Get a New Computer

Don't you just hate it when your computer has a problem and you find out it's just barely out of warranty? Put a reminder in your calendar now for a few days before your warranty expires. That way, you won't get caught in the "I'm too busy and now it's too late" trap. I put it as a birthday for my computer in my contacts along with its serial number for quick access.

Of course, these are just some of the more hardware-oriented things you should be doing. You should also make sure you've audited all your passwords, set up some good antivirus, and prepared your computer for heavy use-but hopefully you'll remember these boring-but-important things as well. Good luck!

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