Whether you’ve just bought a new laptop to replace your old one or are upgrading to take care of yourself, you should do a few things right away when you get a new laptop. A few small investments in time will help ensure the best possible experience later.
After buying a new laptop, here’s what to do, no matter what OS it’s running on.
- Update Operating System
Whether you buy your laptop from a physical store or online, it will likely last several months after leaving the factory. Then, one of the first things to do with a new laptop is to install updates to the existing OS.
It provides you with the latest features and ensures your system is secure. It’s essential to do this beforehand so that if an update adds new features or changes the look of the OS, you can configure those settings and familiarize yourself with the interface during the setup process.
To check for OS updates, do the following:
On Windows 10, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for updates. On Windows 11, go to Settings > Windows Update. You may need to restart to install some updates. Windows will automatically download and install future updates.
If you have a Mac, click the Apple menu in the upper-left corner and choose System Preferences > Software Update.
If you are using macOS High Sierra or earlier, you should visit the App Store to check for updates. Search for “macOS” in the App Store to download the latest version.
On Linux, how to update depends on your distro. You may find the option to edit in system settings or have to run the update manually. See how to correct common Linux distros for more help.
Chrome OS takes care of all the updates behind the scenes. As long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi, Chrome OS will check for updates and download anything it finds. You can manually check for updates by clicking the menu in the bottom right, followed by Settings, then hitting About Chrome OS at the bottom of the left pane. Select Check for updates. To install it, all you have to do is restart your device.
- Remove All Bloatware
Bloatware is unwanted or unnecessary software that comes pre-installed on your operating system. These applications are often useless, plus they waste drive space and system resources. Windows laptop manufacturers are known for this, whereas bloatware is rarely a concern on Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS laptops.
Follow our guide to removing bloatware in Windows 10 or see how to remove Windows 11 bloatware to remove the junk you don’t need. If you’re unsure if a program is essential, search it on Google or Should I Remove It? to see what other people think.
- Review Antivirus Software
Windows 10 and 11 come with Microsoft Defender built-in, which is good enough for most people. You can pair it with other powerful computer security tools if you want extra protection.
Mac and Linux machines don’t include an antivirus program out of the box. Careful browsing and a little common sense will protect you on both platforms. Still, you can install Mac antivirus software or an antivirus tool for Linux for added security if you wish.
Meanwhile, Chromebooks have built-in malware protection, so you don’t need anything special on that platform. However, there are Chrome extensions that can increase your security.
- Configure Anti-Theft Tools
Next on the checklist of what to do with a new laptop is protect your device from theft. Having someone steal your computer (or lose it) is bad enough, but someone else gaining access to all the data on your laptop could be even worse. Therefore, it is essential to have measures to increase the chances of getting it back.
Windows 10 includes a built-in feature called Find My Device, located in Settings > Update & Security > Find my device. In Windows 11, you’ll find the same options in Settings > Privacy & security > Find my machine. Make sure you enable this so you can find your laptop via your Microsoft account if necessary.
For a similar feature on macOS, visit the Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID and select iCloud from the sidebar. Here, make sure you have to Find My Mac turned on. If you see a Details button next to it, click it and ensure you’ve allowed that function to access location services on your Mac.
The Find My Apps Selection window opens in iCloud System Preferences on your MacBook Pro. These two tools allow you to find your laptop from any other device signed in to your Microsoft or Apple account.
If you have a Chromebook, you can find your lost device by going to the Security section of your Google account settings and clicking Find the lost device under Your devices. See Prey for other options (which also work with Linux machines). It lets you track up to three devices with the free plan.