How to Transform a Windows PC Into a Microsoft Signature PC
In previous articles we talked about Microsoft Signature and what you get when buying a Microsoft Signature PC. But... there is one important downside to this program: it is available only in the US and only in Microsoft stores. What if you live in an area where Microsoft stores are not available? What if you live in Europe or Asia? Well... you will have to transform your computer into a Microsoft Signature PC by yourself. And this guide will show how.
Optional - Clean Windows Installation
Do you have a Windows installation disc or does the manufacturer of your computer offer a way to restore Windows without the extras they usually bundle?
If you do, it is best to reinstall Windows so that you get rid of all the bundled junk. If you are looking for good installation guides, don't hesitate to check these articles: How to Install Windows 8 on Your Computer or How to Install Windows 7 - Complete Round of Installation Guides.
Mandatory - Remove Unwanted Software
If you are not able to perform a clean Windows installation, this step is mandatory to improve the computer's performance and your computing experience.
Read this guide carefully and learn how to remove all the software you don't need: How to Remove Crapware/Bloatware & Optimize Windows.
Even if you made a clean installation of Windows, you might want to also remove some Windows features you don't need. Don't hesitate to read this article as well: How to Add or Remove (Un)Wanted Windows Features, Programs or Apps.
Mandatory - Check For & Install the Latest Drivers
Another step done by Microsoft is to make sure they install the appropriate drivers for your computer's components and use the latest versions available.
Don't hesitate to read this article for guidance: Find Missing Drivers & Hidden Devices with Device Manager.
Also, after you installed all the appropriate drivers, don't hesitate to configure them to your linking. This article can help with the configuration: What is the Devices and Printers Panel and How to Use it.
Optional - Install Useful Microsoft & Adobe Software
The next step performed by Microsoft on Microsoft Signature computers is to install several useful applications and plugins on your computer. The complete list can be found in the lower half of this page: Microsoft Signature - Under the hood.
As we mentioned in this article Simple Questions: What is Microsoft Signature?, not all software is useful to all users. Therefore, you have the chance to browse through the list of applications and install only those that make sense to you, depending on how you plan to use the computer.
The applications we highly recommend to all users are: Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Flash Player for Internet Explorer.
Many applications installed by Microsoft are from the Windows Live Essentials suite of tools. We published a guide to help you install the tools you want, without installing the whole suite. You can find it here: How to Install Windows Live Essentials 2011 Tools.
Optional - Remove Desktop Shortcuts You Don't Need
Microsoft Signature computers always have a clean desktop, that is not cluttered by shortcuts and icons. Go to your desktop and remove the shortcuts you don't need. You can remove all of them if you prefer a clean, zen-like desktop.
To help you out, we published this guide on dealing with standard Windows shortcuts: Customize Your Desktop: Add or Remove Standard Shortcuts.
Optional - Install a Beautiful Desktop Theme
Last but not least, Microsoft installs a custom desktop theme to make things look great.
You can find awesome themes to install and use in Microsoft's official gallery and on our website. The Microsoft gallery can be found here - Windows 7 themes - and our themes can be found here - Windows Themes.
As you can see from this guide, it is not very complicated to create your own Windows Signature, even if you are not a very skilled computer user. Even if you do not live in the US or close to a Microsoft store, you can have your own Microsoft Signature PC and brag about it to your friends.