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Windows 11: Do these six things right away after you finish setup

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"Microsoft's default settings for Windows 11 are filled with tiny annoyances, including unnecessary taskbar icons and unwanted apps. Here's how to declutter your new setup and maximize your security settings.

Setting up a new Windows 11 PC is pretty easy. Deceptively easy, in fact. After you click through the dialog boxes and adjust the few available settings as part of the Out of Box Experience, you end up at the Windows 11 desktop.

But your work is not complete. Microsoft's default settings aren't necessarily tuned for you, and a default setup comes with a handful of annoyances that you can quickly fix. 

When you get to the Windows desktop, I recommend taking a few minutes to do these six things before you go any further.

Use a Microsoft account for maximum security

On a system you own and manage personally, you have two choices for setting up your primary user account: a Microsoft account or a local account. 

(If your PC is in a managed corporate environment, you'll have either a domain account or you'll sign in with Azure Active Directory. Either way, your administrator is the boss, not you).

Old-timers will probably prefer a local account because it's what they've used for decades. But it's the wrong choice these days, at least if you care about security. 

Using a Microsoft account gives you three advantages you can't get with a plain-vanilla local account.

  • You can turn on 2-factor authentication and Windows Hello, which allows you to sign in using fingerprint or face recognition hardware.
  • You can turn on encryption for your system drive, even using the Windows 11 Home edition. (To make sure it's turned on, go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Device Encryption.)
  • You can recover your data if you forget your password using the Microsoft account recovery tools.

And, of course, if you have a Microsoft 365 Family or Personal subscription, you get access to Office apps and a terabyte of cloud storage.

You're not required to use the Microsoft-supplied email address for anything but this single purpose. And if you create a new Microsoft account as part of the Windows 11 setup, it's not linked to any existing phone number or email address, which means there's no tracking.


You can create a new Microsoft account during Windows 11 setup

For more details on the differences between each account type, see "Windows 11 setup: Which user account type should you choose?" For step-by-step instructions on securing your Microsoft account, see "How to lock down your Microsoft account and keep it safe from outside attackers."

Clean up the crapware

As was the case with its predecessor, Windows 11 makes money for Microsoft thanks to shortcuts sprinkled across the Start menu on every new install, presumably in exchange for bounties paid by the owners of those third-party apps and services. Candy Crush and its ilk are gone on my recent test systems, replaced by streaming media options (Spotify, Disney+, Prime Video) and social media (TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook).

The good news is that these shortcuts are exactly that. They're not installed by default; they take up minuscule amounts of disk space, and each one can be removed with two clicks directly from the Start menu."

The other five steps are covered in the full article here:



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