Customer Support - PC Installation and Setup

Your local common sense solution for PC and internet support

Installing your PC

If your PC is being supplied by us, we will usually be installing it for you and giving some introductory training, but there are a few things which need to be sorted out before the system arrives which will speed the installation process and be helpful in using it more effectively.

Please read this guide carefully, and if you have any further questions, do please call us or send an email to the support desk

We are also able to advise on any additional software or hardware you may require in the future.


Locating Your System

The first thing to decide is the location of the machine. It needs to be close to your normal working place, but not in the way when you are not using it. Desktop machines will generally supply floor standing tower cases which means that the system will take up less room on the desktop. Monitor cables are quite short, so the ideal location for the system box is underneath the place where the monitor will be. However, don't tuck it right away, as you will need to get at the front for access to the power switches, disk drives etc.

It's best if the system stands on something solid such as a piece of plywood rather than sinking into a carpet.

Places to avoid :

Position the monitor so that you will be looking directly at it in use - i.e. without twisting. The height of the screen is also important if you are to avoid neck problems. Set it up so that the top edge of the screen is at about eye level when you are sitting in your normal position. Various adjustable stands are available - some of which have space underneath for the keyboard when not in use - very handy if you use your desk for non computer work.

You will need space in front of the monitor for the keyboard. Most people will use the mouse right handed, so you will also require some space to the right of the keyboard for the mouse mat. If you are going to be doing a lot of typing, it may be worth investing in a wrist rest to help avoid strain. Touch-typists may frown on such things, but us 2-fingered lesser mortals can find them very useful.

Lighting is also very important. You should avoid places where the screen will be subject to direct light either from windows or room lighting. Position desk lights so that they illuminate your work and not the computer screen.

Don't forget that you will need some space next to the machine for any books or papers you need whilst working. Many 'computer desks' sold by DIY and office or computer supply shops simply do not provide enough space.

If you are buying a brand new desk for your machine, there are many different types available - choose one to suit your budget and decor. The type which are wider at one end than the other are well worth considering if the desk is not exclusively for computer work.



Most PCs have fans in them to keep the components - especially the processor and power supply - cool. When the machine is running, warm air will come out through a grille (usually on the back of the case, or underneath notebook systems). It is important not to obstruct this grille or any other vents which allow cool air to enter the case.

For similar reasons, always keep the system box the way up it was designed to be. Don't stand desktop boxes on their side. Heat rises, and if the box is the wrong way up, it can build up in unwanted places.


Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Many computer users ignore that most essential items of equipment - the chair. Do make sure you use one that is comfortable and provides plenty of support. Most office supply shops will have a selection and will advise you, but do try before you buy. Make sure you know how to do all the various adjustments.

Depending on the relative heights of desk and chair - as well as the length of your legs (!) - you may need to consider a footrest. Once again, there are many different types available.



You will of course need to provide mains power for your system. PC's don't consume vast amounts of power, but by the time you have a printer etc. connected up, you will need quite a few sockets. Stacking lots of adaptor sockets together is unsightly and dangerous.

The best way to provide power for your system is by a special multi way extension cable with built in surge protection. Computers are quite susceptible to bumps and clicks on the mains supply caused by other appliances switching on or off, or by electrical storms. If required, we will supply one of these leads with systems and will check with you how long it needs to be.

Critical PCs can be supplied through a 'UPS' (uninterruptable power supply). As well as providing power filtering, they will automatically switch over to a backup battery in the event of a power cut.  If the power is not restored in time, then the UPS will shut down the PC safely.

When the system is switched off, by all means turn the power off at the wall, but do leave the plug in as this maintains the earth connection for the system and will help to prevent damage from static charges.



If you have a broadband router or modem, this needs to be connected to a telephone socket.

Routers will connect to your PC either via a network cable or wirelessly. If you are connecting wirelessly, then the router should ideally be placed approximately in the center of the area you want to cover and as high up as you can reasonably get it.

Before connecting up, ensure that your telephone extension is not being overloaded. Every device connected to the line imposes a loading or 'REN' on the line. The REN for each device should be written on a label somewhere on it, and the total of these numbers for all the connected devices must not exceed 4. So if you already have 2 phones, a fax machine and an answering machine, you could have problems. The Telephone company will advise you (and probably try to sell you a additional line!).

Phone lines are also another source of electrical interference to you system. Some of the surge protecting extension blocks referred to above also have connections for a telephone line. We will specify this type if appropriate.


Your Printer

It is normal in a domestic or small business installation to place the printer close to the system. Most printers come with a 1.8 or 2 meter lead, though longer ones are available from most computer suppliers. Again, for systems we install, we will check on the lead length you need. Most modern printers can operate wirelessly, which gives you much more freedom of placement - and saves you a cable.

It is a good idea to put the printer on a separate table from the system as (apart from the space it takes up) this will minimise any problems due to vibration from the printer - especially inkjets. Don't forget, that the printer should ideally to be connected to the same protected mains supply as the rest of the system. Many computer' desks or workstations come with low level shelf for the printer. We would however, advise against this setup as loading paper and collecting your printouts will involve additional bending, as well as the possibility of kicking the printer.

There is more information on printers in our 'Choosing and Using a Printer' article.


And Lastly ....

Don't just switch it off! Shut the machine down correctly.


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PC Support