New gadget? Steps to take to ensure you stay safe.

It’s tons of fun getting a new device. Whether it’s a new desktop, laptop or phone: the thrill of getting it home and opening the box is great. We know, we love tech too. It even has its own version of new car smell! Once you get it home though, there are a number of things that need to be done before it’s really usable – beyond snazzing it up with a new case or mousepad.

The sellers like to say it’s ready to use straight from the box – and it is at a base level – maybe not quite the way you need it to work. They’ll all turn on, look for wifi, and sure, you can type…but rather like when you buy a new fridge, simply turning it on isn’t enough – it’s still empty and you’re still hungry. A few minutes now to prep your new device will save you time, stress, and quite possibly money.

This is a long and detailed list, so keep it for future reference or forward it to your friends that may be in the market for a new machine!

Install all Security Updates and Fixes

From the factory to your hands, that device has been in the box for at least a month. In the world of security, that’s an eternity. During that time on the shelf, new viruses have come out and new software weaknesses have been discovered. Fortunately, new updates to combat these problems were also created, they just haven’t been downloaded to your device yet. The first thing you should do after turning the new device on is to use its update feature to get all updates installed. That way, you know your device is safe to go online.

Install a Security Suite

This may not be necessary for most mobile devices, but if you have a new Windows machine or even a Mac, we STRONGLY suggest investing in a high quality security package. Not all antivirus programs are created equal, and often times the one that may come ‘free’ on your machine is only there because it was cheap for the manufacturer or reseller to provide. For consumer use, we recommend ESET Smart Security by NOD32 or Bitdefender. We even have a managed business grade antivirus based on Bitdefender that we can provide for a similar price than most residential grade products! Contact us if you are interested in being protected by the professionals at Little Dog Tech rather than a freebee.

Setting up Hardware

If your new device is a computer, you’ll need to hook it up to extra tech like a printer or webcam. These tasks that should be plug-and-play can sometimes send you loopy, especially when you’ve got a plug mismatch or incompatible drivers. One hint is to not use the disks that came with the machine. Instead, go online to the manufacture’s website to download the newest version of drivers and software to ensure compatibility. Some common websites are:

Be careful Googling a manufacturer’s support website, many scammers will put up ads and pretend to be support for a certain company but charge you astronomical amounts of money for something that may actually be free!

Setting up the Network

There are two types of networks in the residential world, wired and wireless. Wired connections are always best, so if your new computer is going to be located near your router or an active ethernet plug, use that. But, more and more people these days are using wireless connections. This is great, but it can be slower and less stable and the biggest problem we see is people don’t know what their wireless pass-key is! If you don’t have record of what your key was, you will either need to retrieve it from another connected machine, connect to the router with a wire to access it and extract the key, or reset your router to defaults and set it up again from scratch. These are more complicated tasks than what I can explain in a newsletter, so if you run into this issue we can help!

Backup, Backup, Backup

This is a great time to think about having a robust backup procedure in place. You would hate to get everything moved over to your new machine and find out that you have a dud and have lost everything! Or, why not set this all up now so when the device does inevitably fail, you know you can recover from that disaster. There are MANY different types of backups out there from online to local to a hybrid approach. Contact us to let us design the perfect backup plan for your devices.

Data Transfer From Old to New

Some people want to transfer everything from one device to another, others like to have a fresh start and keep the old device as a backup. You can either transfer your data in its entirety, or just copy the things you use. For mobile devices, the major manufacturers have built in tools for this, like iCloud backup on iPhones.

For computers, the process can be a little more manual. You can keep it simple by copying data to a flash drive on the old computer, then copying it to the new computer. Or, we can use some specialized software to move over files as well as some settings, configurations, and even your wallpaper! We can even turn your old hard drive into an external drive that you can plug into your new computer and grab files as required.

Setting up Email and Software

Email is one thing people commonly forget and then struggle with. If you use a web browser based e-mail solution like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail, there may not be anything to set up. Just visit the website and sign in (I hope you remember your password!) to get your mail. But, if you use an e-mail client such as outlook, Windows mail, or Thunderbird, they will need special configuration to connect properly. Also, the databases from the old machine may need to be migrated so you still have your old mail. The details vary depending on the existing configuration and program, but it is something we are very familiar with.

Any programs you will need to have on the new computer will need to be reinstalled. It is not feasible to move an installed program from one computer to another. There are programs that claim to do this, but the results are not guaranteed and often buggy. BEFORE you purchase your new machine, you should inventory what software you will need, and spend some time digging up the install disks and licenses. Some programs like Corel, Adobe, and AutoCAD can often cost more than the machine, so it is worth it to keep track of these licenses!

Lockdown Privacy and Permissions

Most newer devices have the ability to create separate accounts for different users. Whether it be a computer or a mobile device, there may be an advantage to setting up a different account for each person who is planning on using the device. The individual users can keep their files, settings, and programs separate from other users to reduce clutter and the chance that other users can ‘mess things up’.

With Windows machines, there is a distinct advantage to setting up the normal day-to-day users as ‘standard’ users without installation rights, and then have one ‘administrative’ user that is carefully used only when higher level functions are needed. This can be VERY helpful with avoiding virus infections because ~95% of virus CANNOT install through a standard user account!

Whether you have children and are looking to provide a safe online experience, files you’d prefer to keep private, or simply want to set up ‘profiles’ for each user to have their own login, we can quickly get your new device configured to meet your needs.

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