12-29-2003 new computer
You received a new computer for the holidays. It's brand new, you don't have to do anything to it, right? WRONG!
A computer is just like a new car. The car might be brand new but if the mechanic didn't check the oil, you are going to be in trouble quickly. Here's a few things to check on that new machine. Does the computer have all the hardware that you expect? Look at the back of the computer. Do you see a place to plug in your keyboard, mouse, and monitor?
Your keyboard and mouse may connect to a ps/2 or a USB connector. Do you know the difference between USB and ps/2? Are you going on the Internet? How do you plan to connect? If you are going to use a dial up service, is there a place to plug in the telephone wire? Are you going to use dsl or broadband? Is there a connector for the ethernet cable? You may also use USB for a broadband connection but ethernet is a more efficient way to connect. Are there enough USB connectors to connect your printer, digital camera, and other USB devices? You'll need a USB hub or USB expansion card if you don't have enough connectors for all your USB appliances. What about software? Is there an operating system like Windows XP loaded on the computer? Is there a COA (certificate of authenticity) sticker on the computer? Make sure that you have the COA, it is your proof of ownership if you need to reinstall the operating system. Check any plastic wrapping for any license stickers before you discard it. Does the operating system support all your peripherals like the printer? Do you need a driver to allow the printer to work with the computer? Is the virus scanner installed on the computer? Many new computers have a 90 day virus scanner installed. Don't forget to keep the virus scanner updated or you'll have problems after 90 day evaluation expires. Is there a word processor installed on the computer? Consider open office, www.openoffice.org , if you need to write documents or spreadsheets. You don't have to be held hostage by Microsoft for all your software requirements. Open office will allow you to create, edit, and save documents in popular Microsoft formats. It seems like there is a lot to check before you enjoy that new computer but it is time well spent. Think of the computer like a tower of blocks. If you don't lay a good foundation, the stack will come tumbling down. Proper preparation will make your computer experience much more enjoyable. Happy Holidays