Your 9 Step Computer Install Checklist
You should use this 9 step computer install checklist, why?….I have built a lot of systems and I mean A LOT. Large companies with IT departments have the luxury of imaging their systems. They purchase many of the same model and build an image for it that they load on to each system before they deploy it to the user. Regardless, they use a similar checklist. It ensures the computer is built, efficiently, consistently and eliminates any problems down the road because you know exactly what you have!!
Now you are probably saying, “I am a small or medium sized business owner, why would I need to do this?”. Whether you are using one or 100 computers in your business it is a good habit to get into and your computer will least likely breakdown when you need it most!! Here is the computer install checklist I use and I hope you already use something similar to this. This is a general guide that can apply to Windows, Mac and Linux:
Put it all together
There is no sense turning the computer on if it is not put together in the configuration that you will be using it in. So make sure all parts that you got with the computer (i.e. Docking Stations, Monitors, Keyboard, Mice etc. are plugged in). Peripherals like Printers, Scanners etc. are not included in this step (more on this later).
Create a user account and perform initial setup
When you turn your system on for the first time, it will want to know this like a user account (name and password), your time zone, regional settings (like keyboard settings) and whether or not you want to receive system updates and the frequency. A little tip I use is when it asks for what keyboard and region setup I need to use even though I am in Canada, I choose “US”. There are 2 things at play here 1) we represent dates many different ways and it is easier to represent dates as MM/DD/YYYY and 2)because most of the software we use is from the US anyways (it plays nicer with it).
Configure computer for the network
In the case of Windows if you set up the computer without specifying the Work group name, it will default to “WORKGROUP”. You may or may not want to keep it this way. All you have to do is go into the system’s settings and click “Advanced Settings”. It will bring up the system properties. You can click the computer name tab and then rename the work group by clicking the “change” button. You will have to reboot the computer for the change to take affect. If your computer needs to find other resources on the network (like servers and printers) it should find it easier this way. It looks nicer too when are looking for devices on the network and they are all in the same work group :p.
Update the operating system
Regardless of what operating system you are running it is always a good idea to make sure it is as up to date as possible before you deploy it. Nothing is a frustrating as not know about an issue that can be fixed by a system update and deploying the system only to find that you have to go out and fix a problem that never should have been one!
Uninstall unnecessary Programs
This to me is IMPORTANT. System makers have been getting better with this but it used to be when you got a new system, it was so full of demo ware and the performance out of the box was so slow, you thought they had shipped you a 5 year old system by mistake! If you know you are probably never going to use the software, Uninstall it! You would be surprised how much stuff loads at login that you don’t ever use……
Install and Configure Necessary Programs
Alright, we are getting somewhere! Take the programs that you do use and Install them. Configure them too. Before you know it, you will be up and running, but first….
Install an Antivirus!
I know what you are thinking, “why didn’t you put this in the last step?”. I would have but it is really important and deserves it’s own step. Forgetting this step might get you the computer back to someone like me sooner then you like. Install an antivirus. A lot of newer systems (Windows 8) come with one pre-installed. If you don’t like it put one on you do. I posted these links in an earlier post but here they are again:
Install Necessary Peripherals
OK, now you can hook up you printers, scanners or what ever else you have other than a mouse, keyboard or docking station. I suggest hooking up one at a time and verifying functionality before going on to the next one. If you have any network connected peripherals, this would be a good time to hook them up too.
Bring over data from old Machine
If you are like a lot of small to medium sized business, you may have a combination of local stored information and network stored information. I find that regardless of your situation, you will have a lot of information (Spreadsheets, Word Docs, PDF’s, etc) stored locally on the old system. Find a way to get them over to the new machine. I like to use a USB disk to to this. It is easier, You just copy all the information from the old system to the USB drive and from the USB drive to the new system. One item to note is that items like Internet bookmarks and contacts from an email program might have to be exported from the old system, copied to the USB drive, copied to the new system and then imported into the new system’s programs.
Voila you are done! If you take the couple of hours to do this 9 step computer Install checklist, it will save you safe many, many hours of headaches down the road. As always, if you have any questions please contact me!