First, plug it into a Surge Protector.
Then, get it connected to the Internet.
- Find the OS install disk (not a restore disk)
- IF it’s a Windows-based machine, format (wipe) the hard drive, and do a clean install of the OS – to get rid of all the “cruft” from the manufacturer. Alternatively use pcdecrapifier.com
- Update your drivers, OS, and applications
- IF it’s a Windows-based machine, install Microsoft Security Essentials and update it.
- Install applications: Chrome, Pidgin (IM for Windows) or Adium (IM for Mac), Skype, VLC Player (video for Windows), Picasa, Sumatra PDF reader (for Windows), Dropbox, 7-zip (decompressor/compressor for Windows), OpenOffice.org, iTunes, Miro (an internet video RSS downloader), a BitTorrent client…
- Alternatively, ninite.com creates a customised installer for you to install all this in one go without having to sit at the machine for ages.
- Once everything is installed and configured, make an image of the entire HardDrive.