September 5, 2022

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How to set up that new Windows 11 laptop you received this holiday

Source: Windows Central

If you have a new Windows 11 laptop (or desktop), after getting in out of the box, you need to do some setup and tweaking to make it personal and get the most out of it.

On Windows 11, setting up a new laptop is a straightforward process, and it only takes some time to complete the initial setup to create an account and choose your privacy settings. You also want to remove all bloatware and other unwanted software, apply the latest updates, install and configure the apps you need, transfer your files from your old computer, and customize the desktop to make it more personal.

In this Windows 11 guide, we will walk you through a slew of (essential) tips to set up a new laptop properly.

How to set up installation on Windows 11

If you have a new laptop, you can set it up in at least two different ways. You can complete the out-of-box experience (OOBE) to create a new account, configure your privacy settings, language, and keyboard layouts, and continue customizing the experience by removing the bloatware. Or you can complete the initial setup and then reset the device to start fresh with a clean copy of Windows 11.

Complete out-of-box experience

To complete the out-of-box experience, use these steps:

  1. Select your Region – for example, United States.

    Windows 11 OOBE Region

    Source: Windows Central

  2. Click the Yes button.
  3. Select your keyboard layout – for example, US.

    OOBE Keyboard Layout

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Click the Yes button.
  5. Click the Skip button (as necessary).
  6. Select the wireless network.

    Quick note: If the device is connected using a wired connection, it’ll connect to the network automatically. If you are using a wireless connection, you must connect to the network. Otherwise, you won’t be able to continue with the setup.

  7. Click the Connect button.

    OOBE connect to Wifi

    Source: Windows Central

  8. Confirm the Wi-Fi password.
  9. Click the Next button.
  10. Click the Next button again.
  11. Confirm a name for the computer – for example, Office-PC.

    Windows 11 OOBE name laptop

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: The computer name cannot contain more than 15 characters, and you can’t use numbers. You should also avoid special characters. Although you can skip this option, it’s recommended to set a device name to make it easier to identify it in the network and on the devices section of your Microsoft account. If you are setting up a Windows 11 Pro device, you will see the option to choose how you like to set up the computer, in which case, you would select the Set up for personal use option.

  12. Click the Next button.
  13. Confirm your email address to create a local account.

    Create a Windows 11 account

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick note: If you are setting up a device running Windows 11 Home, you must use a Microsoft account to set up the first user account. The option to create a local account is only available on Windows 11 Pro.

  14. Confirm the password.
  15. Click the Create PIN button.

    Windows 11 OOBE create PIN

    Source: Windows Central

  16. Create the new Windows 11 PIN.

    Set up PIN

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If you only want to use your password, click the Cancel button to skip the option.

  17. Select the Set up as new device (recommended) option useless you want to restore setting from another device.

    Set up as new device

    Source: Windows Central

  18. Click the Next button.
  19. Choose your privacy settings and scroll down to review all the settings.
  20. Click the Accept button.

    Choose privacy settings

    Source: Windows Central

  21. (Optional) Choose how to plan to use the device to receive personalized ads, tips, and recommendations.
  22. Click the Accept button.

    Customize Experience

    Source: Windows Central

  23. (Optional) Click the Only save files to this PC option. Or click the Next button if you want to upload and keep your files from the Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders synchronized with OneDrive and your other devices.

    Skip OneDrive backup

    Source: Windows Central

  24. Click the No, thanks option since you can install Office at a later time if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription

    Skip Office install

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, you will be presented with the Windows 11 desktop with your settings and predefined experience customized by the manufacturer.

After setting up the device, if you want to keep the default installation, use the steps below to remove unwanted preloaded applications or reset the computer to start fresh with a clean copy of Windows 11.

Uninstall bloatware

On computing, bloatware refers to those unwanted applications that manufacturers pre-install on systems, which usually waste resources and space. We are talking about software trials and tools you will never use.

To uninstall any bloatware from the new Windows 11 laptop, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click the Apps & features page on the right side.

    Apps & features

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Apps & features” section, select the unwanted app, click the (three-dotted) menu button on the right, and select the Uninstall button.

    Windows 11 Remove Bloatware

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If you do not know which apps to uninstall, usually, you want to start with antivirus trials and tools that do not come from Microsoft Corporation. You can quickly determine the publisher by looking under the app name to identify the publisher. Also, you can always remove many of the Windows built-in apps, including Groove Music, Mail and Calendar, Microsoft Teams, and many others.

  5. Click the Uninstall button again.
  6. Continue with the on-screen directions (if applicable).

After you complete the steps, you must repeat the steps to remove any remaining applications you may not need.

Set up fresh install of Windows 11

Although the default setup configuration should be enough for most users, the best way to start with a new device is to erase everything and perform a clean install of Windows 11 that ensures no bloatware or unnecessary custom configurations are part of the experience.

On Windows 11, you have at least two approaches to start with a clean setup, including using the “Reset this PC” feature or using a USB bootable media.

It’s worth pointing out that using this approach will erase the custom installation configured by the manufacturer and install the default Windows 11 image provided by Microsoft. If you use this option, you may be required to install some driver updates manually.

To reset a computer doing a clean install of Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Recovery page on the right side.

    Open Recovery settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Recovery options” section, click the Reset PC button for the “Reset this PC” feature.

    Reset PC option

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Click the Remove everything option.

    Remove Everything

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Click the Cloud download option.

    Cloud download

    Source: Windows Central

  7. Click the Next button.

    Reset this PC settings

    Source: Windows Central

  8. Click the Reset button.

Once you complete the steps, the setup will take over and complete the installation using the Microsoft default Windows 11 image. After the process, you will need to finish the out-of-box experience (see the previous steps) to create an account and choose your settings.

How to install updates on Windows 11

Windows 11 can download updates automatically, but you can always check manually to ensure the device isn’t missing any critical or driver updates.

To download and install the latest updates, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update.
  3. Click the Check for updates button.

    Windows 11 check for updates

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Click the Restart now button.

After you complete these steps, the available updates will download and install automatically.

How to check drivers on Windows 11

Although Windows 11 does a pretty decent job automatically detecting and setting up hardware components. It could be possible that one or more drivers may still be missing, especially if you plan to start with a clean installation.

Check drivers with problems

To confirm whether drivers are missing or causing problems on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Confirm that none of the devices have a yellow or red mark and confirm nothing is listed as unknown.

    Device Manager without problems

    Source: Windows Central

If some components have problems, you may need to manually download and install the latest drivers from your computer manufacturer’s support website.

Install missing drivers

In the case that Windows 11 is missing some drivers, it might be possible to download them from Windows Update.

To download missing drivers through Windows Update, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update.
  3. Click the Advanced options page on the right side.

    Advanced options

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Additional updates” section, select the Optional updates setting.

    Open optional updates

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Select the Driver updates section.
  6. Check the drivers to install on Windows 11.

    Windows 11 install driver new laptop

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick note: If the page doesn’t show any driver updates, Windows Update doesn’t have any additional updates for your hardware configuration.

  7. Click the Download & install button.

After you complete the steps, Windows 11 will download the missing drivers automatically (if available).

How to personalize desktop on Windows 11

Although Windows 11 isn’t as customizable in some areas, such as the Start menu and Taskbar, like its predecessor, you can still make many customization changes. For instance, you can change the desktop background or refresh the experience using a theme. You can use a light or dark color mode. You can tweak various aspects of Start, Taskbar, and more.

The steps below show the most common tweaks to get started. However, you can use this guide to customize virtually anything on Windows 11.

Change themes

To change the theme on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Themes page on the right side.

    Open themes

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: On Windows 11, you can also apply themes from the top controls in the Personalization section.

  4. Select one of the available themes to apply it.

    Set new theme on Windows 11

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the new theme will apply and change the system colors and desktop background.

Install new theme

To get a new theme to quickly change the look of Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Themes page on the right side.

    Open themes

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Current theme” section, click the Browse themes button.

    Open Store themes section

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Select the theme to download.
  6. Click the Install button.

    Install theme

    Source: Windows Central

  7. Click the Open button.
  8. Select one of the available themes to apply it.

    Change theme on new laptop

    Source: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, the theme will download and install on the computer.

Change color mode

Windows 11 has two color modes to personalize the experience, including the light mode (default) that works well during daytime, and the dark mode, which uses a dark color scheme better suited in a low-light environment.

To change the Windows 11 color mode, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Colors page on the right side.

    Open Colors Settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Use the “Choose your mode” drop-down menu and select one of the available options.

    • Light – Applies a white color scheme across the system and apps.
    • Dark – Applies a dark color scheme across the system and apps.
    • Custom – Allows you to decide the color mode for apps and the system separately.

    Change color mode on Windows 11

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the Start menu, Taskbar, and other elements will switch to the new color mode.

Change accent color

To change the system accent color on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Colors page on the right side.

    Open Colors Settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Accent color” section, select the accent color for the experience.

    Change Accent Color

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: You can use the Custom color setting to create a custom accent color.

  5. (Optional) Under the “Accent color” section, select the Automatic option to allow the system to set a color scheme based on the colors of the current wallpaper.

    Change color based on wallpaper

    Source: Windows Central

  6. (Optional) Turn on the Show accent color on Start and taskbar toggle switch to show different colors in the Start menu and Taskbar elements.

    Show accent color on Start and taskbar

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick note: This option is only available when using the Custom option for the “Choose your mode” setting, and you select the Dark option for the “Choose your default Windows mode” setting.

  7. (Optional) Turn on the Show accent color on title bars and windows borders toggle switch to show different colors around the application frame.

After you complete the steps, buttons, links, system icons, and other elements throughout the experience will reflect the new color accent. The accent will also be reflected in the Start menu, Taskbar, and applications if you enabled the option to show accent colors on title bars and windows borders and the Start and Taskbar in the “Colors” settings page.

Set custom background image

To change the desktop background to a custom image, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Background page on the right side.

    Open Background settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Use the “Personalize your background” drop-down menu and select the Picture option.

    Background Picture Option

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Click the Browse photos button to select an image.

    Select custom background image

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Use the “Choose a fit for your desktop image” drop-down menu and select the fit that best suits the images:

    • Fill.
    • Fit.
    • Stretch.
    • Center.
    • Span.

After you complete the steps, the new custom image will appear in the desktop background.

Customize Lock screen

You can also customize the Lock screen background and notifications.

To customize the Windows 11 Lock screen, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Lock screen page on the right side.

    Open Lock screen settings

    Source: Windows Central

As part of the Lock screen settings, you can customize several settings, including the background image and app status.

In the Lock screen, the Windows spotlight is the default option, and it allows you to show a different background every time you sign in to your account. However, you can use the Picture option to showcase a custom image or the Slideshow option to rotate a collection of images.

Slideshow for Lock screen

Source: Windows Central

If you select the Slideshow option, the system will load the images from the Pictures folder. However, you add and remove the folders you want to show. You can even include the camera roll folder from your computer and OneDrive.

Lock screen settings

Source: Windows Central

In addition, there’s an option to show the Lock screen with the slideshow when the device is inactive.

Some applications can show detailed status, and you can configure this feature by using the Lock screen status drop-down menu and selecting the app you want to see the information.

Customize Start menu

Although the Start menu has a simple design, you can still customize various settings, such as the items in the “Recommended” section, folder items next to the power button, etc.

To customize the Start menu on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Start page on the right side.

    Open Start settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. (Optional) Turn off the Show recently added apps and Show recently opened items in the Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer toggle switches to disable “Recommended” items in Start.

    Disable Recommended on Start

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Turn on or off the Show most used apps toggle switch to show frequent apps in the “All apps” list.

Once you complete the steps, the Start menu will reflect your configuration.

Add or remove Folders items

To add or remove quick access next to the power button on Start, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Start page on the right side.

    Open Start settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Click the Folders setting.

    Open Start Folders settings

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Turn on the toggle switches to add items to the Start menu next to the Power button.

    Start Folders items

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Turn off the toggle switches to remove items from the Start menu.

After you complete the steps, the items should be available next to the power button in the Start menu.

Align Taskbar icons to left

Windows 11 now aligns items to the center of the Taskbar, but if you prefer the classic left alignment, it’s something you can still do.

To align Start and all the other Taskbar icons to the left, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

    Open Taskbar settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Select the Taskbar behaviors setting.
  5. Use the “Taskbar alignment” drop-down menu and select the Left option to align the icons from the center to the left side.

    Taskbar alignment left

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the icons will now align to the left side of the Taskbar.

Remove Taskbar items

To remove the Search, Task View, Widgets, or Chat icons from the Taskbar, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

    Open Taskbar settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Select the Taskbar items setting.
  5. Turn on or off the toggle switch to add or remove the Search, Task View, Widgets, or Chat to the Taskbar.

    Remove Taskbar Items

    Source: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, the icons you disabled will no longer be available in the Taskbar.

Control startup apps

Some apps and services can start automatically on startup negatively impacts performance and account load times on Windows 11. After installing all your apps, you should review the “Startup” settings and disable those that may affect the experience.

To disable apps on the Windows 11 startup, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click the Startup page on the right side.

    Open Startup settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Turn off the toggle switch for apps to disable at startup.

    Disable Startup apps

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the sign-in process should be noticeably faster, depending on the apps and services you disabled on Windows 11.

Configure power options

On laptops is a good idea to review and adjust the power settings to conserve battery life.

To change the Windows 11 power settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Power & battery page on the right side.

    Open Power Battery settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Power” section, select the Screen and sleep setting.
  5. Use the On battery power settings to specify when the screen should turn off and when the computer should go into sleep mode when running on battery.

    Battery Power settings

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Use the When plugged in settings to specify when the screen should turn off and when the computer should go into sleep mode when the laptop is plugged in.

After you complete the steps, the computer will turn off the display and get into sleep mode according to your settings.

Configure power saver mode

Also, on laptops, you can change the power settings to decide when the system should enable battery saver mode to conserve even more battery.

To configure battery saver mode on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Power & battery page on the right side.

    Open Power Battery settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Battery” section, select the Battery saver setting.

    Windows 11 Battery Saver Settings

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Use the Turn battery saver on automatically at setting to specify how low the battery life should be before activating the saver mode.
  6. Check the Lower screen brightness while in battery saver option to preserve even more energy.
  7. (Optional) Click the Turn on button for the Battery saver setting to turn on the feature immediately.

Once you complete the steps, battery saver mode will activate, depending on your configuration.

Enable night light

The night light feature has been designed to reduce the amount of blue light at night and use warmer colors to reduce eye strain and help you fall asleep at night when working long hours at night.

To enable Windows 11’s Night light feature, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Display page on the right side.

    Open Display settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Brightness & color” section, turn on the Night light toggle switch to enable the feature.

    Windows 11 enable Nightlight

    Source: Windows Central

  5. (Optional) Turn off the Night light toggle switch to disable the feature.
  6. (Optional) Select the Night light setting.

    Windows 11 enable Nightlight

    Source: Windows Central

  7. Use the “Strength” slider to specify the correct color temperature of the display when the feature is turned on.

    Night light change warm strength

    Source: Windows Central

  8. (Optional) Click the Turn on now button to enable the feature immediately.

Once you complete the steps, the feature will show warm colors on the screen to help minimize eye strain while working at night.

How to install and configure apps on Windows 11

Although we all have different apps requeriements, we usually need the same core apps and configuration. For instance, everyone has their preferred browser experience: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, or others. If you use the computer for school or office work, you probably need to install the Office apps. And you may also need to configure a Mail application to manage all your emails.

Set default browser

Windows 11 now comes with a new version of Microsoft Edge, and even though it is one of the best browsers for Windows users, you may still want to use another application, such as Google Chrome or Firefox.

To install and configure a web browser as default, use these steps.

  1. Open Chrome or Firefox official page.
  2. Click the Download button.

    Windows 10 download Google Chrome

    Source: Windows Central

  3. Clear the option to collect statistics about the browser usage (if applicable).
  4. Click the Accept and install button (if applicable).

    Chrome accept and install

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Double-click the installer to complete the installation.
  6. Open Settings on Windows 11.
  7. Click on Apps.
  8. Click the Default apps page on the right side.

    Default apps page

    Source: Windows Central

  9. Select the browser you want to use as the new default on Windows 11. For example, Google Chrome.

    Select new default browser

    Source: Windows Central

  10. Click on .htm option.
  11. Select the Switch anyway option.
  12. Select the Google Chrome option.

    Set Chrome as default web browser

    Source: Windows Central

  13. Click the OK button.
  14. Repeat steps No. 5, 6, 7, and 8 for these file or link types:

    • .html
    • .pdf
    • .shtml
    • .svg
    • .webp
    • .xht
    • FTP
    • HTML
    • HTTPS
  15. (Optional) Select each of the remaining types and select your preferred browser.

Once you complete the steps, your browser of choice will be the new system default on Windows 11.

Set up Office

If you are using the laptop for work or school, you will need the suite of Office apps, and the best way to get them is through a Microsoft 365 subscription.

The Microsoft 365 Personal plan costs $70 per year, and the Microsoft 365 Family plan costs $100. They give you access to all the apps and other perks like 1TB of OneDrive storage. If you choose the Family plan, you can share the benefits with six people.

Subscription

Office 365 logo

Microsoft 365

Get more and increase productivity with the latest features

Microsoft 365 gives you access to all the Office apps and benefits like 1TB of OneDrive, Outlook.com premium, and Skype minutes. You can also install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other desktop apps on up to six devices, and depending on the plan, you can share the subscription with up to six people.

To install Office from Microsoft 365, use these steps:

  1. Open Office website.
  2. Sign in with a Microsoft account (if applicable).
  3. Click the Install Office button.

    Download Office Microsoft 365

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Install Office on all your computer” section, click the Install Office button.
  5. Click the Install button.
  6. Continue with the on-screen directions to complete the setup as necessary.

After you complete the steps, Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and other apps and features will be available on the new laptop.

Set up Windows 11 Mail app

To get started with the built-in Mail app, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Mail and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Click the Add account button.

    Mail Add Account option

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick note: The app may also show you a list of accounts already available on the system. If your account is listed, you can selected to set it up quickly.

  4. Select your email account from the list if applicable. Or select a service and continue with the on-screen directions.

    Add account to Mail

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Click the Done button.
  6. (Optional) Click the Settings (gear) button in the bottom-left corner.
  7. Click the Manage accounts option.

    Windows Mails manage accounts

    Source: Windows Central

  8. Click the Add account option.

    Windows Mail second account

    Source: Windows Central

  9. Select a second email account from the list if applicable. Or select a service and continue with the on-screen directions to add another account.
  10. Click the Done button.

Once you complete the steps, the account will start syncing your emails and the calendar events using the Calendar app.

You can also use this guide with everything you need to know to get started with the Mail app.

How to transfer files to new laptop on Windows 11

If you’re upgrading to a newer computer, you may need to bring over the files stored on the old device. If this is the case, transferring your files is an easy process. You can use cloud storage services like OneDrive, which makes restoring files almost immediately. Or you can transfer your files using an external storage if you are dealing with multiple terabytes of data.

Transfer files using OneDrive

If you already have your files synchronized in OneDrive, you do not need to complete these instructions since the files will already be accessible as you set up the account using a Microsoft account.

To transfer documents and other files over to the new laptop, use these steps on the old laptop:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Browse to the folder with the files you want to transfer.
  3. Select the files.

    Quick tip: You can select items individually or all contents using Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut.

  4. Click the Copy to option from the “Home” tab.

    Copy To

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Select the Choose location option.
  6. Select the OneDrive folder.
  7. Click the Make new folder button.
  8. Confirm a name for the folder – for example, Old Laptop Backup.
  9. Select the newly created folder.

    Transfer files from old PC to OneDrive

    Source: Windows Central

  10. Click the Copy button.

To complete the transfer, use these steps on the new laptop:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Select the OneDrive folder icon from the left navigation pane.
  3. Access the files from the old computer.

    Transfer files new laptop from OneDrive

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, you can continue accessing your files from within OneDrive or move them to your profile folders, such as Documents and Pictures, to free up space in your OneDrive account.

Transfer files using external hard drive

If you have tons of files that will take a lot of space and time over the internet, you should consider transferring files over to the new computer using an external storage.

On the old laptop, connect an external hard drive with enough space, and use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Browse to the folder with the files you want to transfer.
  3. Select the files.
  4. Click the Copy to option from the “Home” tab.

    Copy To

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Select the Choose location option.
  6. Select the external storage.
  7. Click the Make new folder button.
  8. Confirm a name for the folder – for example, Old PC Backup.

    Transfer files from old PC to OneDrive

    Source: Windows Central

  9. Select the newly created folder.
  10. Click the Copy button.

On the new laptop, connect the storage with the file backup, and use these steps to transfer the files:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Browse the source folder with the files to transfer to the new computer.
  3. Select the folder with the files.
  4. Click the Copy button from the command bar.

    Transfer files to new laptop

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Browse to the destination folder.
  6. Click the Paste button from the command bar.

    Paste Files New Location

    Source: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, the files will now be restored on the new device.

If you need an external storage to transfer multiple terabytes of files, we recommend the Elements Desktop drives from Western Digital. They do not offer super-fast speeds or portable design, but they offer up to 18TB of reliable storage at a reasonable price.

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The WD Elements Desktop Hard Drive might not be particularly fast or compact, but it offers a lot of storage for backups and file transfers at an affordable price.

How to secure new laptop on Windows 11

Another important step while setting up a new computer is to ensure that all the security features are correctly configured to keep your device and data safe and secure, including Microsoft Defender Antivirus, Microsoft Defender Firewall, Windows Hello authentication.

Check for malware

Although Microsoft Defender Antivirus is always running in the background, it’s still a good idea to review its status and make sure it has the latest updates.

To check the status of the Windows 11 antivirus, use these steps:

  1. Open Windows Security app.
  2. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  3. Under the “Virus & threat protection settings” section, click the Manage settings option.

    Defender Antivirus Manage Settings

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Turn on the Real-time protection toggle switch (if applicable).

    Defender Antivirus real time protection

    Source: Windows Central

  5. (Optional) On the Virus & threat protection page, click the “Virus & threat protection updates” section, click the Check for updates option.
  6. Click the Check for updates button to ensure the Microsoft Defender Antivirus has the most up-to-date definition.

    Update Defender Antivirus

    Source: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, the antivirus will continue to protect the laptop and files against viruses and other types of malware.

If the default antivirus isn’t for you, check our roundup of the best antivirus software in 2021 to find third-party alternatives.

Enable system firewall

A firewall is another critical element to keep your device and files protected from hackers and other malicious attacks. It monitors the incoming and outgoing network traffic, allowing only packets based on security rules. By default, the Microsoft Defender Firewall offers the most obtimal security settings for most users.

To enable the Microsoft Defender Firewall, use these steps:

  1. Open Windows Security app.
  2. Click on Firewall & network protection.
  3. Click the Turn on button for the Domain, Private, and Public networks, or click the Restore settings button (if applicable).

    Windows 11 enable firewall

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the firewall will monitor incoming and outgoing network connections to protect the device from network threats.

Configure Windows Hello

Windows 11 devices usually have built-in biometric security features, such as a fingerprint reader and face recognition camera, which let you ditch difficult passwords in favor of a quicker and more secure method of authentication using Windows Hello.

This guide will outline the steps to configure a fingerprint reader, but the approach will be similar to setting up another authentication method.

To enable Windows Hello Fingerprint on Windows 11, use these steps.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Accounts.
  3. Click the Sign-in options page on the right side.

    Open Sign in options

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Under the “Ways to sign in” section, select the Facial Recognition option.
  5. Click the Set up button.

    Configure Windows Hello

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Click the Get started button.
  7. Confirm your account password.
  8. Put your face directly into the camera, as indicated in the wizard.
  9. Continue with the on-screen directions to capture your fingerprint from various angles.

Once you complete the steps, you can use biometric authentication to sign in to your account. If you have a fingerprint scanner, the instrocutions would be the same, you would only need to touch the fingerprint sensor to register your finger.

Enable find my device

Windows 11 includes a “find my device” feature that saves the most approximate physical location of the laptop in your Microsoft account through an internet connection, which you can use to find your computer if it ever gets lost or stolen.

To enable “find my device” on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Privacy & security.
  3. Click the Find my device page on the right side.

    Open Find my device

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Turn on the Find my device toggle switch (if applicable).

    Windows 11 enable find my device

    Source: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, if you can’t remember where you left your laptop, you will be able to find the last known location by checking the details in the Find My Device page available in your Microsoft account.

How to create full backup on Windows 11

It’s also recommended to create a full backup of the new system if you need to recover from hardware failure, malware attacks, or file corruption.

You can use many available third-party software products. However, you can still use the legacy System Image Backup tool on Windows 11, which allows you to create a full backup an external storage, which you can disconnect and store in a safe location.

Important: Microsoft has stopped maintaining the backup feature, but it’s still available to create a temporary full backup.

To create a full backup on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Control Panel and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Click on System and Security.
  4. Click the File History setting.

    File History option

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Click the System Image Backup option from the bottom-left corner.

    Create System Image

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Click the Create a system image option from the left navigation pane.

    System Image Backup on Windows 11

    Source: Windows Central

  7. Select the On a hard disk option.
  8. Use the “On a hard disk” drop-down menu and select the Windows 11 full backup destination.

    Select Windows 11 backup storage destination

    Source: Windows Central

  9. Click the Next button.
  10. (Optional) Select any additional drive to include in the backup.
  11. Click the Next button.
  12. Click the Start backup button.

    Windows 11 create external drive backup

    Source: Windows Central

  13. Click the No button.

    Quick note: You’ll also receive a prompt to create a system repair disc, but you can skip it. If you need to roll back to a previous installation, you can use a USB installation media to access the recovery settings.

  14. Click the Close button.

Once you complete the steps, a full backup will be created with everything on the primary hard drive and other internal storage you may have chosen to export. After the process is complete, disconnect and store the external drive in a safe place.

Although this is a handy tool, you can need to consider that you can only restore changes until the last backup. Things like apps, files, and settings added after the backup won’t be included in the recovery process.

In addition, the Backup and Restore feature was designed to restore the whole system, not individual files. If you want an up-to-date backup of your files, you should be using other solutions, such as OneDrive, to back up your files to the cloud or File History, which is still available on Windows 11.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

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