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Setting up a Windows PC for seniors
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Tech tips

Setting up a new PC? 5 must-do steps for seniors

The tech world has come a long way in terms of accessibility. It’s easier than ever to find purpose-built devices and software designed for children, seniors and people with visual impairments or limited motor skills.

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As Windows features expand and become more advanced, it can be overwhelming for some. Especially if they’re older and don’t have much experience with computers. Fortunately, there are ways to set up a Windows PC to enhance the experience for seniors. We’ll show you how.

1. Make sure it’s protected

Before anything else, make sure their PC is protected from viruses, malware, scams, and other cyberattacks. No matter what a computer is used for — work, school, personal, banking, socializing — it’s always vulnerable to attack. An antivirus solution is essential, and we recommend our sponsor, TotalAV.

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2. Disable unnecessary Startup programs

Operating systems often come with a bunch of preinstalled Startup programs, many of which you may never use. Downloading additional programs will add further bloat.

Most apps don’t need to start up every time you boot your PC. Why not just open them when using them?

You can disable startup apps through the Settings in Windows 10 and 11. Here’s how:

  • Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.
  • Select Apps, then Startup.
  • Click on the slider next to each app to disable or enable it.
  • Each app has a description showing its impact level. You can disable the high-impact apps to speed up your PC.

Tap or click here for more tips on streamlining your computer’s startup.

3. Uninstall bloatware and other software that’s not needed

The more stuff installed on a PC, the slower it runs. As with the Startup programs we discuss in step two, you’ll find that Windows PCs come pre-installed with unnecessary apps and programs known as bloatware. As a computer is used, more will be added.

Here’s how to remove apps you don’t use from Windows 10:

  • Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.
  • Select Apps, then Apps & Features.
  • Click on an application you want to remove and select Uninstall.

Here’s how to remove apps from Windows 11:

  • Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.
  • Select Apps, then Apps & Features.
  • Find an application you want to remove and click on the three dots to the right of the app.
  • Click Uninstall in the popup window.

RELATED: 5 apps you should delete off your smartphone right now

4. Adjust magnifier settings/size of text

This is an excellent tool for seniors with poor eyesight. Windows has a built-in magnifier that makes it easier to read small text. You can also increase the size of the text itself.

To turn on Magnifier in Windows 10:

  • Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.
  • Select Ease of Access  > Magnifier .
  • Slide the toggle under Turn on Magnifier to the right to enable it.  
  • Use the Change zoom level buttons to customize your level of magnification.

To turn on Magnifier in Windows 11:

  • Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.
  • Select Accessibility  > Magnifier.
  • Turn on the Magnifier switch.
  • Use the Zoom level buttons to customize your level of magnification.

To adjust the size of text on Windows 10:

  • Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.
  • Select Ease of access, then Display.
  • Under Make text bigger, drag the slider to the right to increase the size of the sample text.
  • Click Apply when you’re done.

To adjust the size of text on Windows 11:

  • Open Settings through the Start menu or search for “settings” in the taskbar.
  • Select Accessibility, then Text size.
  • Drag the Text size slider to the right to increase the size of the sample text.
  • Click Apply when you’re done.

5. Ease of Access/Accessibility overview

Windows 10 and 11 come with many accessibility features to make them easier to use. In Windows 10, you’ll find these options by going to Settings > Ease of Access.

For Windows 11 machines, go to Settings > Accessibility.

Aside from the magnifier tool and text size, you’ll find options for keyboard shortcuts, color contrast, voice typing, eye control, caption settings, narration, voice recognition, focus and more.

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