Undoubtedly, some of my Vlogger Faire friends out there will wake up on Christmas day and find a new, shiny Windows-based computer under the tree. Or, maybe you have a computer that’s not that old, and you want to get rid of the junk software. What do you do with it now that you have it, and where is the best place to start?

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The PC manufacturers want you to unpack it, fire it up, and get busy, leaving all their crappy little software applications alone. I advise that once you have it powered up and running, back away from the keyboard slowly to think for a moment. This article includes some facts and info for you to consider. Now, I am not asking you to take the case off and start disassembling it. I suggest a few tweaks to the software before you dive in and start using it.

Let’s start where, hopefully, your computer has already started for you automatically. Understand that the PC manufacturers keep the versions of their software somewhat current, but the first thing that should happen when you start a new computer is a Windows Update. The Windows Update goes out to the big Microsoft Server in the sky and updates the operating system. Thiss update goes out and grabs entire new versions, version updates, and patches to the operating system. When a new virus or security

hole in the operating system appears that needs fixing, sometimes the only way to improve it is an upgrade or a patch to the software. That is where Windows Update comes in. Your new system should be set up so that straight out of the box, it runs a Windows Update when it detects a network connection. That Windows Update will run on a schedule and will go out and keep your machine current. If it doesn’t do it automatically, click the Windows Control Panel’s “Windows Update” link and let it do its work.

The next thing you will possibly see is a prompt from an internet Security program bundled with the software that came with your computer. The anti-virus developers play on your emotions to make you think you will have problems if you don’t use their software. They give the software to you free for 30, 60, or 90 days, and then you are

hooked. You have to sign up and provide them with a credit card for 12 months’ worth of their valuable service. My suggestion is to uninstall their software ASAP and download and install Microsoft Security Essentials. It is free, comes from Microsoft, integrates well with their Operating System, and it does a better job than the ones you have to pay for. You can search for Microsoft Security Essentials or do a search and download. So, my first suggestion is to dump the included anti-virus that comes with your PC; it will save you money and many headaches. To uninstall and then delete a program like an anti-virus that came with your new PC loaded with Windows 7, here is how you do that. Go to your Control Panel and click the “Programs and Features” link. Scroll down in the list until you find the program you want to delete, and click the uninstall button at the top of the box. It is not a good idea to keep two anti-virus programs running at once. They

may conflict, so I would delete the one that came with the PC first, then download and install Microsoft Security Essentials. The next step is to update what are called plug-ins on your system. The most important plug-in is Adobe’s Flash plug-in. Flash is used to play most web videos and in other content included in websites that require user interaction. The latest version should be downloaded here. The next plug-in that

needs installation is Adobe’s Reader X; it can be installed by downloading here. The Adobe Reader is used to read any PDF Files that might be emailed or sent to you. The next PDF-related plug-in is needed if you have Microsoft Office 2007 or Microsoft Word 2007 installed. That MS plug-in is the “Microsoft Save as PDF” plug-in for Word. It can be found here. It doesn’t hurt to install Oracle’s Java update, but most home users don’t use it much, and it is required more in a business setting than for home use. Here is the location to download and install if you ever need it.