Before we start you should verify that the following steps have been completed successfully:
1) Install the operating system (if needed)
You may not have the proper operating system installed or you may have an older version. In both cases, it is recommended that you install the latest stable version of the needed operating system (preferably a Linux-Based distribution unless you are writing MIPS code).
For MIPS/Spim code the recommended operating system is Windows.
For all other cases the recommended operating system is the latest LTS version of Ubuntu.
2) Check that your operating system is stable
Please verify that your laptop is stable. Use it for some days to watch movies or play games. Problems like crashes with blue screen (BSOD), freezes, or overheat problems should be fixed before we start writing code.
Please also check that your Wifi and your USB ports are working properly
3) Prepare your laptop for programming
You may have to install appropriate software (like JDK, IDE etc) based on the specific programming language you want to write.
There are many preparation articles. You can review them here.
4) Install additional software for productivity
You may install additional software that you help you to be more productive.
5) Install optional software
Nowadays there is a ton of quality software you can install completely free.