How to set up a new computer

Updated: 08/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Desktop computer.

If you purchased a new computer and want to know how to set everything up and connect it together, review the sections below.


First, take the monitor, computer, and all of the other parts out of their boxes. Make sure you set aside any manuals or documentation included in the boxes. You may need to refer to this documentation later. After unpacking the computer, you'll have power cords, monitor or display device, mouse, and keyboard.

Position the computer

Set the computer monitor on the desk and put the computer on or next to the desk. Most often, the computer sits on the floor or on a shelf next to the desk or table. However, some computer desks offer a small cabinet for the computer. Place the mouse and keyboard that came with the computer on the desk or table, in front of the monitor.

Connect all cables

Computer connections


Computer VGA port and cable

The monitor data cable will plug into the computer in only one place. Most monitors use either a DVI (digital visual interface), VGA (video graphics adapter), or HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) connector and plug into the corresponding port on the back of the computer. If your monitor only has a VGA plug and your computer only has a DVI connection, or visa versa, you need a video converter to connect your monitor.

After connecting the data cable to the computer, connect the power plug from the monitor to the surge protector.

Keyboard and mouse

USB cable and port

The keyboard and mouse usually connect to the computer with a PS/2 or USB connector. These connectors are usually on the back of the computer.

Computer power cord

For the computer, find the power cord and plug one end into the back of the computer (only one end fits). Plug the other end of the power cord into a power outlet or surge protector.

We highly recommend both the computer and monitor be powered through a surge protector to protect it from power surges. If your house experiences frequent brown outs or black outs, consider using a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) to help protect your computer.


If you have computer speakers, they can also be plugged into the back of the computer. The speakers connect to the line out or sound out port (usually green) on the back of the computer. If your speakers are powered speakers, the power cord should also be plugged into the surge protector.


Network cable

Finally, if you are using a wired Internet connection, connect, the category 5 Ethernet cable to the back of the computer. If you are planning on using Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet, only a Wi-Fi router needs to be in range of the computer.

Turn the computer on

You can now turn the computer on and allow it to load up into Windows. Upon booting up the computer, you are asked a few questions, such as your name, location, and network settings to help finalize the set up.

Connect printer and other peripherals

If you also purchased a printer, or other computer peripherals, start installing the drivers for each of the devices after the computer is running properly.

Install important software

A computer comes with some pre-installed software. However, to use the computer beyond what comes pre-installed requires you to install software (e.g., programs and games) that interest you.