Setting up a New Computer is Easy, Right?

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Darren Kattan
11 Jan 2023
5 min read

You just unboxed a machine. You know what client it is for, and if you’re lucky you know the name of the person that will be using it. Again, if you’re lucky. Here’s what you need to figure out:

  1. What should I name the computer?
  2. Should it be joined to a domain or AzureAD?
  3. Can I join it to the domain over a VPN?
  4. What VPN client should I use?
  5. What are the VPN profile settings?
  6. What’s the name of the domain?
  7. What credentials can I use to join it to the domain?
  8. What edition of Office should I install? Pro Plus or Business?
  9. What other Microsoft software do they need, Visio? Project?
  10. Do they need any Outlook plugins perhaps for Spam Filtering or Email Encryption? If so where are the installers?
  11. What line of business software does this person need?
  12. Where is the installer for that software? Can I download it from the vendor’s website, or are they only licensed up to a specific version?
  13. Do we have a copy of it on our network or is it on theirs?
  14. Where is the license for that software? Is it a network license?
  15. Do I need to plugin the license somewhere or is it automatic?
  16. How do I plug that license in?
  17. Do I need to deactivate from their old computer first?
  18. What PDF viewer/editor should I install?
  19. What browser should I install?
  20. Did they have an old computer? Is this a new user replacing someone else? Who was that person and where is that computer?
  21. Do I need to migrate applications specific settings from that old computer?
  22. What other software is on that computer?
  23. Do they use all that stuff?
  24. Should I make them a local admin so they can install anything I missed?
  25. Who can I call with these questions or should I know all this stuff already?

Aside from being an already long list, the answers almost always depend on something else:

  • The name of the computer depends on client convention
  • The Antivirus depends on their agreement
  • The VPN depends on the firewall and whether or not this person even uses the VPN.

The PDF handler? You just entered a holy war. The company pays for Acrobat but this guy in particular wants you to install his 6 year old copy of Bluebeam.

The line of business software depends on company and/or the user.

What installer to use and where to find it? I’m sure it’s in the local administrator’s Downloads folder on the last computer you setup for that client. Scratch that, call the vendor and provide your name, SSN and list of fears and they’ll resend you a dropbox link.

Get any of this stuff wrong and your client notices immediately.

There are 2 points I’d like to drive home:

  1. For MSPs, setting up new computers is really hard
  2. Our clients judge us on how well we do it

If any of this sounds familiar, I encourage you to read our next article where we dissect each of the questions above and use automation to make setting up new computers as easy as our clients think it is.

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