Day One with your new Windows laptop

Unwrapping a new laptop? Set up these vital tweaks and apps before you do anything else.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Many happy holiday celebrants are opening up new laptops this month (or hybrids, desktops, and tablets). Unless it's a MacBook, the one thing nearly all those systems have in common is that they are going to run Windows 8, Microsoft's radically different new operating system.

The new OS means that the general advice I've been giving for years on what essential setup tweaks to do as soon as you unpack a new laptop needs to be updated for the Windows 8 era.

Frankly, no laptop comes right out of the box ready to perform optimally. The following pages will give you my favorite system tweaks and must-install software apps to get you up and running before the wrapping paper gets swept up. There are probably dozens more I could list, and I'm sure I've left out some of your favorites, so feel free to leave your own Day One tips for new laptops in the comments section.

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