How to set up your new computer, 2010 edition (with video)
One of the less significant signs of the holiday season is the reappearance of my annual "How to set up your new computer" column. This year's will appear in Sunday's Business section but is now online for your consideration.
This time around, I've also done a video outlining some of my suggested changes to Windows and Mac OS X settings and program installations and uninstallations, as you can see below.
The major items in the changelog for this year's release:
* I advise running Apple's Migration Assistant when prompted but saving Microsoft's Windows Easy Transfer until after a first round of updates (the former takes much less time, while with the latter you'll want to have updated security software on board in case you have any viruses lurking in your files).
* I address a common question from earlier columns by advising against Mac anti-virus software unless you're in the habit of typing in your admin password when strange downloads ask for it.
* I recommend uninstalling Java and Silverlight to lower your software-upkeep burden down the line (you can always install them back if a site important to you requires them, but I'm betting against that happening).
* For similar ease-of-maintenance reasons, I narrowly recommend Chrome over Firefox. Not having to worry about Flash and Adobe Reader updates is a major advantage for Google's browser.
* Google loses out in my advice for photo-editing apps on Windows, as I now prefer Microsoft's Windows Live Photo Gallery for its editing and, more important, picture-sharing options.
* I no longer advise installing iTunes in Windows. If you have an iPod, you'll install it anyway. If you don't, I've realized that in Windows 7, Windows Media Player is pretty good in its own right.
I expect many of you won't agree with this advice. For what it's worth, I wouldn't follow all of it on my own computer. But I'm not writing for me. I'm writing for the less-experienced home users who e-mail me for tech support every week. Their sometimes confused requests for help have taught me that many people will give up on what you might call liturgically correct computing advice: They get tired, they get lost, they get intimidated and sometimes they wind up worse off than if they'd done nothing. Considering that risk, I would rather offer advice that works, even if sub-optimally, for non-enthusiast types.
What changes would you recommend in the 2011 version of this column? Post your suggestions in the comments below.
| December 23, 2010; 1:36 PM ET
Categories: Computers, Mac, Security, Tips, Windows
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