The default configuration settings that come up when you turn on a new computer for the first time are far from ideal. They include a lot of on-screen links and shortcuts to programs and Web sites that you might never use, options and settings that don't do anything useful, and even more that seem to be optimized for some mythical user who wants automated access to every bell and whistle that Windows can supply.
This chapter explains how to set up a new computer or reconfigure your existing computer to do the things you want it to do, and how to change or eliminate the things you want to avoid.
Almost every new computer reaches you with Windows and all of the computer's features and functions installed and tested. The computer should work the first time you turn it on, although it might ask you for some setup and configuration information (such as your Internet connection settings) before it allows you to begin real work. If this describes your computer, you can skip the rest of this section.
However, if you assemble your own system, and when you reinstall Windows after a system crash, you must install the device drivers for your network interface, graphics controller, sound controller, and other devices and services immediately after you install the Window operating system. Windows automatically detects and installs many of these devices, but others don't work until you load them separately.
The CDs supplied with your computer, your motherboard, and each add-in expansion card and USB device contain the drivers and control software for that device. Immediately after you install Windows, remember to load all of the drivers and control programs for the built-in services on the CD supplied with your motherboard, and then each of the CDs that came with other expansion cards and USB devices.
Even if Windows recognized and installed a device driver for one or more of these devices, go ahead and install the versions on the CD; the versions provided by the manufacturers often include useful control programs and other utilities.
If you don't have the original CDs, look for downloadable versions of the drivers and software on each manufacturer's Web site.