Knowledge Base

How to Set Up Your New Dell Computer


Table of Contents:

  1. Overview
  2. Physical Setup
  3. Microsoft Windows Setup
  4. Software Updates and Alerts
  5. Activate McAfee SecurityCenter
  6. Dell Welcome
  7. McAfee SecurityCenter
  8. Set up Lojack for Laptops
  9. Create Recovery Discs
  10. Create a Password Reset Disk
  11. Update Windows
  12. Update Drivers and BIOS
  13. Set Up Additional Software


This article discusses setting up a new Dell computer for the first time, including setting up wireless, activating bundled software and creating recovery media.


Step 1: Overview

Congratulations on your new Dell computer purchase! Now that you have your new Dell in hand, this guide will take you step-by-step through setting it up for use for the first time. There are several stages to setting up your computer:

  1. Physical Setup
  2. Microsoft Windows Setup
  3. Critical Software Setup (Antivirus and recovery media)
  4. Update Windows
  5. Update Drivers
  6. Configure Installed Software

To get started with your Dell computer, you will need some extra materials on-hand for creating your backup and recovery media:

  1. A small USB key to create a Password Recovery Disk
  2. 2 blank DVD-writeable discs or a 16GB USB key (not the same as the one for the Password Recovery Disk) for Recovery Media

Step 2: Physical Setup

  1. Plug your computer into AC power using the enclosed power cables.
  2. Connect your monitor*
  3. Connect your mouse and keyboard*
  4. Connect your speakers*
  5. Turn your computer on.

* - Optional for laptop computers For specific information on configuring and setting up your peripheral hardware, refer to the User Manual or Setup Guide for your specific computer model.


Step 3: Microsoft Windows Setup

Windows needs some information from you before starting the Windows desktop:

  1. Country, Language and Keyboard Layout
  2. User Name (required) and Computer Name (fills based on User Name, but you can change if you like)
  3. Login Password (recommended for security purposes, but not required). Note that if you lose your password and do not have a Password Reset Disk, other than the hint provided the only other option is to reinstall Windows. Be sure to create a Password Reset Disk as shown below.
  4. Agree to the Microsoft and Dell license terms.
  5. Set your computer security settings. Dell strongly recommends using the recommended settings.
  6. Date and Time settings
  7. Configure your wireless settings, if applicable. Select from the available wireless networks or click "Connect to a hidden wireless network" if you are not broadcasting your wireless ID. Be sure to select the correct Security Type and security key as needed.
  8. Set your location for wireless settings.
  9. If there is a HomeGroup on your network, you may elect to share data or printers with other computers. The HomeGroup setup screen will tell you where to find the HomeGroup password.

Step 4: Software Updates and Alerts

After the Microsoft setup has completed, you will be presented with a Software window with two user agreements. The first agreement allows software installed on the system to reach out to the internet for updates, and possibly deliver alerts specific to your system.

The second agreement allows Dell to collect specific data from your system to optimize your experience. Be sure to read both of these agreements before proceeding.


Step 5: Activate McAfee SecurityCenter

McAfee has simplified the process of activating and updating your anti-virus software. Simply enter your email address in the window provided and a password, then check the box to accept the McAfee End User License Agreement to finish activation. (Note: this action requires a network connection to complete.)


Step 6: Dell Welcome

Dell Welcome (also known as the Getting Started Guide) is a window (Figure 1) that appears on the desktop directly after the Microsoft setup has completed. Using this guide, you can get all of your services and backup media created in 1-2 reboots, rather than being reminded after each reboot to create your recovery discs or activate your McAfee subscription. Be sure to leave this window open until you are finished using the guide to set up services.

Dell Welcome Screen
Figure 1- Dell Welcome Home Screen (English only)

The Dell Welcome screen is broken out into up to five categories:

  1. Getting Started- Set up SyncUp powered by Nero. For more information on this product, refer to the SyncUp software page. (English only)
  2. Set Up Security- Set up your McAfee SecurityCenter subscription or to activate Lojack for Laptops.
  3. Create Recovery Disc- Create your backup discs in the event you need to reinstall Microsoft Windows and cannot use the recovery partition.
  4. Setup Needed- Set up your free online backup space through DataSafe Online by clicking Click herein the right pane of the Dell Welcome screen. For more information, refer to the Dell Datasafe Online FAQ. (English only)
    Also contained is a note on Dell Digital Delivery. Be sure to connect your computer to the internet to complete setup of digitally delivered software.
  5. Learn More- Transfer your data from your old computer, pick gadgets to use on your Windows 7 desktop, visit the Dell Support website to get more information on getting started with your new computer, and get a first look at Dell Support Center. (English only)

Step 7: McAfee SecurityCenter

If you activated your McAfee subscription in Step 5, you may proceed to Step 8. Otherwise, to activate your McAfee SecurityCenter subscription, perform the following steps (see Figure 2 for details):

  1. Click the Click here link in the right pane of the Dell Welcome window to launch the McAfee Protect your PC Now window.
  2. Fill out the form as provided, and be sure to click the radio button next to I agree for the End User License Agreement (EULA).
  3. Click Next at the bottom of the screen to finish the registration.

McAfee Registration Screen
Figure 2 McAfee Registration Form (English only)


Step 8: Set up LoJack for Laptops

If you have purchased a laptop system, you can set up LoJack for Laptops, which is a theft recovery service that can help locate and retrieve a lost or stolen computer.

To get started with setting up LoJack for Laptops, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Click here link in the bottom right side of the Set Up Security tab of the Dell Welcome application, under the LoJack for Laptops section.
  2. Click Yes to allow Absolute Software Corp. to make changes to the computer.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete installation of LoJack for Laptops.

Step 9: Create Recovery Discs

Creating your recovery discs is a very important step in your computer setup. While you may never see an issue with your Dell computer, it is possible that you may at some point have to restore the operating system back to the condition it is in now. Dell provides a partition on your hard drive to make this an easy process, but if you should ever delete that partition or if your hard drive were to ever become corrupt or damaged, you will need your recovery media to reinstall Windows. These discs should be kept in a safe place that you will remember, and should be labeled for easy recognition.

This step requires two (2) writable DVDs OR one (1) 16GB USB key to complete. Note that this process takes about 1 hour to complete using DVDs.

  1. Click Create Recovery Disc on the left side of the Dell Welcome window.
  2. Click Click here on the right side of the Dell Welcome window to start Dell DataSafe Local (DSL) Backup.
  3. Click Yes to allow DSL to make changes to the computer.
  4. In the window provided (See Figure 3), select the type of media you wish to use (Discs or USB Flash Drive) and click Next.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the backup process. If you are using DVDs, you will need to switch the DVDs midway through the creation process.

DataSafe Local Front Page
Figure 3- DataSafe Local Start Screen (English only)


Step 10: Create a Password Reset Disk

The Password Reset Disk is used if you forget your password and cannot remember it using your Password Hint. Note that if you do not have a Password Reset Disk created BEFORE you forget your password, the only other option is to reinstall Windows 7.

Microsoft has created an article titled Create a password reset disk (with video) detailing how to create your Password Reset Disk. You will need a USB key (any size will do) to complete this process, as floppy disk drives are no longer shipped on Dell computers.


Step 11: Update Windows

Your Dell computer may not be completely up-to-date with all of the latest Windows security and usability updates. Be sure to click Start and select Windows Update to keep your computer up-to-date and secure. You may need to reboot your computer and perform the action a second time, depending on the updates available.


Step 12: Update Drivers and BIOS

Dell updates drivers, applications and firmware to meet the demands of new software and hardware. Visit the Drivers and Downloads help site to learn how to get the latest drivers for your Dell.


Step 13: Set Up Additional Software

Refer to the following documents for additional information on software installed on your Dell computer:

Dell-Installed Software for Home Users

Dell-Installed Software for Small and Medium Business Users





Article ID: SLN127699

Last Date Modified: 12/15/2014 07:09 PM


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