12-27-2004 gift computer
Q: I received a new computer as a holiday present. How do I get it running?
A: Setting up your computer can be a bit intimidating but you can do it with a few pointers. Open the boxes and remove the computer parts but don't throw away any of the documents that accompany the computer. Your new computer will most likely include software, operating instructions, and licensing information. If you need to reinstall the software on the computer you will need the software and licensing information.
Be very careful before you discard anything that came with the computer. Microsoft includes a sticker called the "certificate of authenticity" on the outside of the XP software packaging. If you purchased a new computer, the sticker should be on the outside of the computer. If you lose the sticker, you will not be able to complete installation of the software. It is a good idea to keep the boxes in case you have to return the computer. If your computer is going to fail because of a defective hardware problem, it will most likely happen during the first day or two of operation. Everthing is spread out on the floor, now what do I do? The basic computer setup should consist of a keyboard, mouse, screen, CPU case, and printer. You don't need to be a brain surgeon to assemble your computer but you need some common sense. One of the most common mistakes you can make when you assemble your computer is to plug the wrong cable into the wrong plug. Carefully match the cable to plug and align it before you attempt to connect the cable. The cable should be snug but you don't need 200 pounds of force to connect the plug. If it doesn't match up check it again. After you get everything connected, power it up. Technicians call the first time power is applied to something a "smoke test". If you don't see any smoke that is a good sign. The computer is up and running. Am I all done? You still need to activate your software. The first time that you activate a new computer, you will be asked to activate and register the software. Registration is not necessary but is a good idea to register your computer and software. Registration makes it easier to get help from the hardware of software vendors. Activation is the final step to complete software installation. If you don't activate the software, it will run for only 30 days. Take your time to properly connect the new computer, don't forget to activate your software, and you should be off to a good start with your new computer.