Top 8 Things to do with a new Windows 10 System

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 17, 2017
Updated • Oct 20, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

A fresh installed Windows 10 operating system, regardless of whether it is store-bought, an upgrade from an earlier version of Windows, or a reset of Window 10 machine, is a good opportunity to apply some useful tweaks and fixes to the operating system.

While deep customization of Windows 10 depends largely on what you use the device for, there are certain tweaks and changes that are beneficial to the vast majority of users.

Here are our recommendations when it comes to that.

Note: It is recommended to create a backup of important date, or the system image, before you continue. While you should not experience any issues making the changes, a restoration option is a must.

1. Update Checks

march 2017 windows security updates

One of the first things that you may want to do is install updates. How you do that depends largely on the type of updates that you want to install.

You have options to install only security updates, or also non-security updates. If you fall into the latter group, you can just go ahead, fire up Windows Update, and let Windows do all the updating for you.

If you want only security updates, then you need to download security patches manually, and install them this way.

The reason why some users prefer the latter group is that they want to avoid Telemetry patches, privacy issues, and other changes that Microsoft may introduce with these patches. You can grab the security only patches at the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

It is a good idea however to make sure that you don't run a feature update version of Windows 10 that is no longer supported by Microsoft.

Also, make sure you block driver updates when you use Windows Update, and set Windows Update to inform you about updates only.

Rule of thumb: Microsoft supports the last two feature updates at the very least.

Tip: To find out which version you run, tap on the Windows-key, type winver.exe, and hit the Enter-key.

Also, install drivers if you require them, e.g. for the video card, printer, or other peripherals.

2. Backup

In times where ransomware threats and malware attacks are on the rise, where Windows Updates may cause issues, you need a backup strategy.

While you can make use of File History and System Restore, it is better in my opinion to create full system backups regularly. At the very least, backup the Windows partition in regular intervals, and all important data regardless of where it is stored.

Use a free program like Veeam Endpoint Backup Free for that, or Macrium Reflect, Backupper, or any other free backup software that supports system backups.

If you don't have enough storage space for backing up the entire partition, consider buying an external hard drive that has sufficient space for the backup (or an internal drive if you are comfortable enough adding it to the PC).

Create a backup right away.

3. Privacy

windows 10 privacy

Windows 10 is quite the data hungry operating system. Microsoft collects Telemetry data and other data, and some of it is also accessible by third-parties.

A good starting point is to make sure that the privacy preferences in the Settings application are set correctly.

These options are not sufficient however if you value your privacy. This is where third-party privacy programs for Windows 10 come into play.

We suggest you pick a program from the list that has been updated this year. W10Privacy for instance is a good candidate.

The programs offer lots of options, from killing Wi-Fi Sharing and removing system apps, to changing Telemetry settings or blocking servers using the hosts file.

4. Security Software

hitmanpro 3.7

Windows 10 ships with a two-way firewall and Windows Defender. If you plan to use those, you may want to add at least a second opinion scanner to Windows 10. Pick something like Malwarebytes 3.0 for that in this case.

Programs that you may want to consider for some extra security are Windows Firewall Control for better Windows Firewall control, Sandboxie for sandboxing some programs, or Hitman.Pro for some extra protection.

5. Explorer tweaks

hidden items

File Explorer is the default file browser on the operating system. You use it for many things unless you install a third-party alternative.

One of the first things you should do is make a couple of tweaks to File Explorer:

Display file extensions for all file types -- Windows hides some file extensions by default. This is commonly exploited by malware, and it may also lead to confusion when you are change the file extension.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Select View at the top, and check File name extensions.

Display hidden items -- File Explorer hides items by default. Windows differentiates between operating system items that are hidden by default, and regular items that are hidden. It is a good idea to display hidden items.

  • Open File Explorer.
  • Select View at the top, and check hidden items.

Add or remove items from the file table -- Explorer displays file names, types, size and modification details in its interface. You can add or remove details from the table, for instance to display the date the file or folder was accessed the last time.

  1. Right-click on the header bar (e.g. on name), and select more from the context menu.
  2. Select or uncheck items there, and click ok afterwards.

Tip: Check out Winaero Tweaker for lots of other tweaks.

6. Remove Apps you don't require

uninstall system app

While you cannot uninstall all system apps that ship with Windows using the Settings application, you can remove some.

It makes no sense virtually to keep apps installed that you will never use.

  1. Use Windows-I to open the Settings application.
  2. Select System > Apps > Apps & features (It is Apps > Apps & Features in the Windows Creators update or later).
  3. Select the application that you want to remove, and click on the uninstall button that appears.

You can remove any native app that ships with Windows 10 using Powershell.

Tip: you may also want to run disk cleanup. Tap on the Windows-key, type disk cleanup, and select the option. Select the c: drive and hit ok. Wait for the program to run the scan,  select clean up system files, and repeat the process.

7. Install custom software

firefox 52.0

You may want to install a couple of third-party tools once you are done with all the things mentioned above.

What you install depends largely on what you need. You may want to consider installing a new browser, image editor, video player, and many other programs.

I suggest you check out our best Windows software listing for more than hundred programs that we recommend.

8. Disable Ads

Microsoft is pushing ads in various places. The company calls these recommendations, suggestions or tips.

You may find ads in the start menu, on the lockscreen, in File Explorer, and on the taskbar. Consult the following guides to find out how to disable ads in these locations:

  1. Disable ads in Windows 10 File Explorer
  2. Turn off Start Menu ads
  3. Turn off the Windows Customer Experience Program

Now You: Have another tip? Feel free to share it in the comments.

Top 8 Things to do with a new Windows 10 System
Article Name
Top 8 Things to do with a new Windows 10 System
The guide lists the top 8 things that you should do after buying a Windows 10 system, installing Windows 10, or resetting a Windows 10 PC.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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