In the first installment of this two-part series, I discussed what to consider when it comes time to replace your old PC.
For Part 2, I review what to do now that you have a new machine — the initial steps for getting the system ready for work.
Starting a new Windows 8.1 system from scratch
The May 8 Best Hardware story, “What to look for when buying a new PC,” covered the relatively easy part of replacing a PC that’s ready for retirement: purchasing the new hardware.
Now that you’ve unboxed the new system and made the physical connections it might need, you’re ready for the hard part: making the right decisions during Windows setup, updating the OS, cleaning out the bundled junk, installing programs, creating separate operating-system and data partitions, and setting up user accounts for maximum safety.
I’m assuming that your new machine has Windows 8.1 — nearly all new PCs do. If you managed to find a new Windows 7 system, much of the following advice — and some of the specific directions — still applies. If you bought a Mac or Chromebook, you’re reading the wrong newsletter.
One initial suggestion: If your old PC still works, keep it handy and connected to the network. You’ll still need it for a bit.
Note: The only PC I own that came bundled with Windows 8.1 is an ASUS Transformer Book T100, a convertible laptop/tablet machine. For this article, I returned it to its fresh-from-the-assembly line condition. The ASUS runs a full version of Win8.1, so its setup process is typical of most new systems. That said, setting up other Windows 8.1 PCs might be slightly different.