First Things to Install on a New Computer

When it comes to the first things to install on a new computer, there is understandably a ton of confusion that exists around the subject. You’ve just completed the very first startup of your new computer, waded successfully through the steps of selecting your region, keyboard layout, selecting a username and password and you are now leaning backwards, admiring your brand new shiny Windows 10 desktop.

(If you haven’t completed said steps yet, you might want to take a look at my article about starting a new computer for the first time first).

But what now?

What are the first things to do with a new computer? New computers are like a lump of clay. They can be spun, stretched and shaped with a surprising degree of freedom. That can easily become overwhelming. That’s where this guide comes in. Here you will find great suggestions for the first things to install on a new computer so that you can get the most out of your new device quickly.

First Things to Install on a New Computer - About This Guide

In this guide about the first things to install on a new computer, you’ll find tips about

  • Antivirus protection software - free vs paid cyber security
  • How to get a (free) email account
  • Deciding on a (also free) Microsoft account
  • Searching the internet - using Google
  • Word processing software and spreadsheets (Microsoft Word, Excel, Microsoft 365, …)
  • Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets and free cloud storage
  • Getting unlimited cloud storage for your photos with Google Photos
  • A ton of other great stuff

Other than that, I will also explain why you might have to un-install things first before you worry about the first things to install on a new computer.

You might already have guessed that there is a ton of stuff to cover. It’s simply too much information to put on one single webpage. That’s why I’ve set up this page as a hub page that links to all the different subtopics. From here you will be able to click through to separate dedicated articles around their own subject. That way you will be able to select the topics that are of interest to you and skip the ones that aren’t. Also, I will regularly add new stuff to this list so make sure to check back frequently.

Overview of First Things to Install on a New Computer

1. Microsoft Edge Search Engine

With that being said, let’s start by looking at one of the most basic yet very important first things to do with a new computer: surfing the internet. Your new Windows 10 computer comes with a built-in browser to go on the internet (which is already installed on a new Windows computer). This browser is Microsoft Edge. You can start Microsoft Edge by clicking on its icon on your taskbar (or the one on your desktop, in which case you need to double click).


You are reading this page in a browser and if you are indeed reading it on your brand new computer, chances are that  it will be with Microsoft Edge. There is nothing wrong with Microsoft Edge, although it does come with a number of default settings that you might want to change. For example, Edge will always use Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) every time you search something on the internet. You might want to change that to Google. Google is still the number one internet search engine hands down. You can learn all about searching with Google in Edge in this article.

2. Microsoft Edge Homepage

Now that you know how to search with Google in Edge, let’s take a look at how to change your Microsoft Edge homepage. You can make Microsoft Edge open with any page you want if you don’t like the default Edge homepage.

3. Google Chrome

Besides having Microsoft Edge as a browser, you might want to expand your browser arsenal with a second browser, namely Google Chrome. You might be wondering why another browser would be one of the first things to install on a new computer if that computer already has a browser, but this will prove to be especially useful once we get to the part where you install several Google services, like a Gmail account, Google Drive, Google Sheets and more. Installing Google Chrome is easy and you can learn all about it here.

4. Create a Free Gmail (Google) Account

Now that you have Google Chrome on your computer, it's a good time to create a Gmail account. A free Gmail account gives you access to an incredible amount of useful computing stuff. You'll be able to use services like Google Drive, Sheets, unlimited cloud storage for your photos and more (and a free email account, not to forget). A free Gmail account is definitely one of the first things to install on a new computer.

5. Creating a Microsoft Account

During the initial first screens when you first started up your brand new pc, Windows will already have nudged you towards signing on with a Microsoft account. If you haven't done so then (as discussed in my new computer first startup article), now might be a good time to do so. Plus, you'll be able to use your Gmail email address that you've aquired in the previous step for setting up your Microsoft account. See: creating a Microsoft account.

6. Installing an Antivirus Program

One of the first things to install on a new computer is also always going to be a good antivirus program. This is to make sure that your new computer is safe from viruses and other cyber threats. If you've followed the Gmail guide above and created a Google account, then your email account is armed with powerful antivirus scanning features as this is built-in in your Gmail account. For antivirus protection during internet surfing and other activities, you can install a free Windows 10 antivirus program. This is one of the times you might need to un-install existing (trial) versions of antivirus programs from your computer before you can consider installing a new one. Why you would remove an existing antivirus program and swap it out with another? Many new computers come with a trial version of commercial antivirus software that you need to start paying for once the (short) trial is over. For personal, non-commercial use, you can just as well use a free (good) antivirus program.

7. How to Use Google Drive

Remember that I've mentioned that your new Gmail account will also give you access to a ton of other useful stuff? Google Drive is one of the reasons why a Google account should always be considered as one of the first things to install on a new computer. Find out what you can do with Google Drive.

8. Unlimited Cloud Storage For Your Photos

And yet another awesome feature of your new Google account: Google Photos. Find out how to get unlimited storage for Google Photos.


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