New Computer Setup Tips

by | Dec 14, 2016 | Hardware | 0 comments

Providing a new computer for an end-user can be exciting and stressful at the same time. On one hand, new technology, more speed, capacity, and new software can be very exciting. Unfortunately, for the employee that mainly cares about doing their job efficiently, a new PC can also present a set of hurdles that slows them down.

Here are five things that we do to minimize end-user frustration in the new computer setup process.

1. Backup Critical Files

Any time we make a major change, we backup data. Replacing a computer is no exception. Ideally, we do an image of the hard drive in case the user forgets something down the road. Due to many limitations, that may not be possible.

The things we always backup are the user data folders. They are located in the following folders:

C:\Users\{username}\Desktop
C:\Users\{username}\Documents
C:\Users\{username}\Downloads
C:\Users\{username}\Favorites
C:\Users\{username}\Music
C:\Users\{username}\Pictures
C:\Users\{username}\Videos

Also, check with the user to be sure that they are not saving files in any other places. Every so often, we find a user that has a folder located in some odd place we would never have found.

Just in case, we never delete data from an old PC unless it is being immediately disposed of or repurposed.

2. Do an Inventory

Ensuring that the user doesn’t have to call us back for something that was not installed or configured correctly, we do an inventory of everything the user may need.

Our remote management software automatically provides us with an up-to-date software and peripheral list. We also like to double-check with the user to ensure our reports are correct and that they don’t require anything new.

The technician should also take note of any printers and devices needed to connect to the PC once installed. Especially when installing printers and less common devices like signature pads, pre-downloading the driver software prevents the technician from having to hunt around while at the end user’s desk.

Lastly, we ensure that no adapters are needed to connect older monitors and peripherals to the new PC. For instance, new PC’s are now coming with DisplayPort connections. Most monitors have VGA and DVI connections. A DisplayPort to DVI adapter would be needed to make the proper connection. We want to ensure that we’re not making a last-minute run to the store for an adapter.

3. Pre-Install Software

Having as much done as possible before sitting at the end user’s desk is critical to a low-impact install. The technician doesn’t have the pressure of someone watching their actions or rushing them.

We prefer to pre-install all software that does not need direct end-user intervention. We almost always install anti-virus software first. This helps prevent the transfer of contaminated files from the old PC to the new one. A properly managed PC should not have a virus but we like to be as sure as possible.

Other software that we pre-install includes all Windows Updates, our remote assistance software, Microsoft Office, Java and Adobe Flash (if needed), Chrome, and any 3rd party software specific to the client. We also pre-configure Outlook and any mapped network locations they may need. Finally, we ensure that all manufacturer hardware drivers are up to date.

4. Document a Setup Plan

Initially, this can be a time-consuming project. We recommend taking it in small bites. Develop a loose overall plan like this:

Pre-Install

  1. Backup User Data
  2. Inventory Software
  3. Inventory Peripherals
  4. Inventory Connections
  5. Check BackUPS

Configure

  1. Configure Windows
    – Use PC Name Template – xxxxxxx-xx
    – Configure Local Admin Account with the following credentials:
    – Install anti-virus
    – Install Windows Updates
    – Install device driver updates
    – Join to Domain
  2. Install Software
    – Install Office
    – Install Chrome
    – Install AutoCAD… etc
  3. Configure Software
    – Configure Outlook (step by step)
    – Configure AutoCAD
  4. Import User Data
  5. Download Install Packages for On-Site
    – Printer Drivers
    – etc

On-Site Setup

  1. Plug in power, monitor, keyboard and mouse, and network cable. (Nothing else!)
  2. Ensure network connectivity
  3. Install Printer
    – Step 1
    – Step 2

Once this plan is built, we add the small details down to every detail.

“When you click “OK”, this will pop-up, click “Yes”.

We do this to ensure that we know almost exactly how long an install will take. This sets the proper expectation with a client and technician. Most importantly, it minimizes unexpected surprises that cause an install to go sideways.

Nothing is more frustrating than installing things out of order, only to have to redo hours of work due to an unanticipated issue. At that point, 5 minutes of reviewing a checklist seems much more appetizing than the alternative.

5. Test the Battery Backup

You may have noticed this one in the previous step as part of our initial pre-install checklist. It’s an important one that is often overlooked. We prefer to test an UPS at the time of a PC replacement as a best practice to ensure the maximum protection for the new PC.

Since replacing a battery backup requires that the PC be shut down, it either requires interrupting a user or an after-hours visit. Neither is appealing. Sometimes they go bad without letting us know. It’s better to find out now.

Replacing the battery backup unit with the new PC is ideal. It minimizes the risk of it failing during the lifetime of the new PC. While this may be the best course of action, it can add expense to the PC purchase. It depends on the perspective of the buyer.

Avoid Unknowns and Call-Backs

All of this seems like a lot of work and it is, at first. The documentation in step 4 takes the most time up front. Once the initial outline is complete, technicians find that filling in the details only helps them get the job done right the first time.

In the end, the goal is fewer unanticipated problems and fewer end-user calls to the help desk. The overall impact is a better customer experience and lower stress when making the change to a new PC.

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