Setting up a New Windows 8.1 PC

By Don Trauger – Kennett


            After unpacking and positioning your new PC, make all your cable connections and turn it on. When it’s on you will be asked by Microsoft Windows to configure your PC via screen prompts. The following guide should help you through this process.


            The first screen is Region and Language. Click the down arrow in the time zone, scroll down to Eastern time, click it then click Next. For Dell computers skip any entry under Dell Support and Protection. Click Next.


            The next screen is License Terms. Click I accept. The next screen is Register and Protect. When you see this screen register your computer as instructed but decline any additional offers except for updating your PC’s drivers and software. Click Next.


            Next is Personalize. Give your PC a name. Don’t use your personal name. Use something else. Under Get Online Click on the name of your home wireless network (the router’s SSID) and enter your router’s password if you have one. Choose Ethernet if you are connected to a modem or router by a cable. Click Next.


            Under Settings don’t use Express settings. Click customize. Click Yes for Home or Work networks. Windows Update should display to automatically install important and recommended updates. Under Update your PC and Apps and Help Protect Your PC and Your Privacy, all switches should be on. Click Next.


            Under Check Online for Solutions both items should be on. Under Help Improve Microsoft Products and Services all should be set to off. Click Next.


            Under Sign in to Your Microsoft Account skip this and look further down the screen and click Create a New Account. Under Create a Microsoft Account skip the open fields and click “Sign in without a Microsoft account”.


            Under Your Account enter your name in the user name field. A password is optional. This log-on password only protects your PC from other household members starting up and using your computer. It has nothing to do with Internet security. Click Finish. It will take several minutes to finish the setup. After setup completes it will display the Desktop screen or the “Live Tiles” screen. If the “Live Tiles” screen is displayed and you prefer the Desktop screen, which is used in previous Windows editions, then do the following. Locate the Desktop tile in the “Live Tile” grouping and left click it. Next, right click a blank area of the Task Bar (at bottom of screen), and left click Properties. Click the Navigation tab and under Start Screen click the box next to “When I sign in or close all Apps on a screen, go to the Desktop instead of start”. Click OK.


            This concludes the initial setup of a Windows 8.1 computer. Other things to consider  would be to install your printer software, install Apache Open Office, a good substitute for Microsoft Office and install CCleaner to clean up junk files. For improved security install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and AdwCleaner. Uninstall the antivirus program that came with the PC and install Bitdefender Antivirus. For improved protection from Internet threats install the Google Chrome browser and add Adblock Plus from to Chrome to help block unwanted ads from other advertisers. All of the programs mentioned are reliable and do an effective job. The best part is that they are free and available from except for Google Chrome and Adblock Plus.


            If you still have a Windows XP computer, it is no longer supported by Microsoft for any updates. If you have a Windows Vista computer it’s still supported but it’s aging. I recommend that you replace an old obsolete computer with a Dell Inspiron Small Desktop 3000 series with an Intel I3 3.6GHz processor. Dell sells it for $380.00 at their on-line store. This computer surprised me for a low cost but very fast computer. It should meet or exceed the needs for general Internet use, word processing and most photography requirements. One nice factor, it’s about 1/3 the size of a standard tower computer.      


            Laptops in this price range will have slower processors and hard drives compared to Desktops. The result is improved battery life between charges but at the expense of overall performance.


            To help you with questions about this or any subject we meet on the second Tuesday of every month at 7 PM, upstairs in the Ardmore room of the Community Center.