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Laptops are useful devices on which we store all our data. However, there are many cases when people have lost a laptop or someone has stolen it. Most thieves have one goal, to sell your laptop to someone else or take your data. Neither is good, and the consequences are bad. This is why it is necessary to secure the laptop on time and keep track of it. Luckily, there are various ways to do it.
You can keep track of your laptop by installing tracking software. It tracks your laptop’s location and activity. Also, enable the Find My Device option and have access to your device’s location. You can check the laptop’s last activity on Gmail, which always notifies you about suspicious actions.
These options are achievable if your laptop has an internet connection, intact data, and tracking software installed. Again, it does not guarantee you will always get your laptop back. Keep reading to find out more about tracking your laptop and what to do in case of theft.
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Is It Possible to Track a Laptop?
Most people who once lost a laptop or someone stole it from them know how much of a problem it is, especially if they have important data on it. Of course, you will do anything to recover your laptop or data in such a situation. The success of this depends on many factors.
First, whether you can trace your laptop depends on the person who stole it or the laptop itself. If someone stole your laptop for its value, a thief can wipe the hard drive and install a new one. Therefore, no tracking program will help your device recover. When a thief deletes everything, it also erases the personality of your laptop.
Second, if someone wants your laptop because of the data on it, then the person will take out the hard drive and use another computer to access the data. After that, they will mostly throw away the laptop. Even in this situation, it is impossible to trace a laptop, because once thrown away, it will not boot anymore. Even if it does boot, it will probably have different software.
However, most laptop thieves are not bright enough. If you have installed a bunch of tracking and recovery programs and the thief does not think of booting the laptop and connecting it to the internet, you will track your laptop.
In most cases, such thieves forget to wipe a laptop and disable the tracking system, which allows you to find out information about your laptop’s whereabouts. Then you can recover your laptop with some effort, but you will probably have to hire someone to do it because police are usually too busy to do an investigation for minor theft. After all, such thefts are frequent.
How Can You Keep Track of Your Laptop?
The last thing you want is to lose your laptop and data. Therefore, you need to be always ready and keep track of your laptop. One way to keep track of your laptop and restore it if an unwanted situation occurs is to install the Prey software. This software has excellent features and some of them are that it allows automatic connection to Wi-Fi, GPS, and Wi-Fi geolocation, remote data wipe, and many others.
When you install this software and log in to the Prey login site, then you can see the location of your laptop and when it was last active. This is a great program with various benefits, and users should try it out and secure their laptops on time.
Another way to track your laptop is to enable the Find My Device option in the settings if you have Windows 10. This option allows you to track your laptop anytime.
The first step you need to do is find Update & Security settings and select Find my device. First, check whether the option is on or off. If it is off, turn it on immediately. If you want to know the location of your laptop, sign in to your Microsoft account and select Find my device in Devices. There you will see the location of your device, and you can choose to find or lock your laptop.
Gmail can also help you keep track of your laptop. It notifies you about every suspicious activity and every new login. When you get the notification, you will see the last known location, and you can use it to track your laptop. You should log in to Gmail via the web and find recent activities on your laptop using the Details option.
When you check the details of the last activity on your account, you will find a link or IP address. It may not give the exact location, but you can at least know the town or area where your laptop is.
Can you Track a Laptop that is Turned Off
If you want your attempt to find your laptop to succeed, the laptop needs to be active, so that you can trace its location. If a laptop is on then it is easy to find the location. Also, if it still has a connection to the Internet, you can check the latest activities.
Although there are some ways to trace your laptop, it is not possible to do it when it is turned off. The only thing you can do is try to track the last location of the laptop when it was last active, but that cannot help you much, especially if someone stole the laptop and carries it around.
That is why you have to enable the Find My Device option because it can trace your laptop without problems. You can still try to login into your Gmail account and try to see if there is any recent suspicious activity.
What Should You Do When a Laptop Is Stolen?
When someone steals your laptop, the first logical thing to do is to panic. This is a normal reaction because you have lost a device that you gave money for and that contains all your information. In such situations, it is necessary to stay calm and do some useful things to reduce the damage.
1. Change Your Passwords
The first step that many suggest you take when someone steals your laptop. If your laptop is in someone else’s hands, that person can access your accounts and social networks, especially if you use the autofill option on your browser. Change your email password first. If someone wants to access your networks and change the password, the entire process will go through your email. Therefore, try to make the password strong, long, and unique.
Once you make sure your email password is strong enough, turn on two-factor authentication. Do not forget to secure your Apple ID or Microsoft accounts, as they also allow access to other data.
Then start securing your social networks and bank applications. Improve all your passwords and use some of the strongest ones. Changing the password is very important. However, it is more important that you choose a strong password so no one can guess it and access your data.
2. Track Your Laptop’s Location
This advice only works when your misplaced device connects to the Internet, which for mobile devices is more beneficial. However, you may utilize the built in “Find My Device” feature to track the position of your laptop, if your laptop connects to the internet.
You can view linked devices on your computer, and take a number of measures to protect them, such as tagging them as lost (which makes it lock and disables Apple Pay) and turning on remote erase if you activate “Find My Device” in advance using iCloud for your Apple computer. Find My Mac is this Mac tracking tool.
It allows you to locate your laptop on a map for retrieval or reporting purposes. Here is how you can get started. Navigate to your menu and select System Preferences on your Mac. Navigate to the iCloud icon. If you have not already, you may need to log in with your Apple account information.
Find the feature Find my Mac and make sure you enable it. You can check your laptop’s location by logging into iCloud. You will find the list of all associated devices. If you choose your Mac device, you will see its location on a map. The good thing is you can even play a sound to find your laptop or display a message on the screen. Among these options, you can also lock your device with a strong and unique password.
Windows has similar features for tracking and locking a stolen laptop. Besides, third-party programs such as Prey that I have already mentioned give you various options for remotely controlling and tracking. Also, many antivirus programs have such features.
Also, try to log in to your Gmail account via another device and see the last activity. It will show you any suspicious logins and IP addresses. You can easily find out the IP address and the location of your laptop if there was any activity on your account.
3. Deauthorize Your Laptop
You should also remotely disable the access of your laptop to internet services. Apple offers the option to remove Apple ID-related devices. You can sign out of social media, remove computers and delete Amazon devices from Google’s trusted list.
Do not forget to turn off auto-sync between devices such as phone or laptop to stop information updating on your missing laptop.
4. Notify your employer and financial institutions
Besides protecting your social media data, you also need to protect your bank information. When you lose possession of your laptop, contact your bank about the theft and accounts that autofill when you buy something online. You can also freeze your cards, and your financial institution will give a report if it notices any suspicious activity.
Notify your employer immediately if it’s the work laptop they provided. In the case of robbery, your organization may have certain procedures. It may offer additional tracking or wiping options for the device or software that may retrieve the installed data. After all, that laptop is owned by the company and not yours.
5. Alert the Police
This step is not always successful. There have been many situations where authorities could not find a stolen laptop, but it is always worth a try. A police report may help you when you want to file an insurance claim. Police will not start an entire investigation to find the person who stole your laptop, but if they have information that someone stole it and even the laptops’ serial number, it can help them get the laptop back as soon as possible.
Having your laptop stolen or losing it can be stressful. Luckily, there are many ways to trace your laptop and have information about its whereabouts. To prevent losing your laptop or theft, install any tracking software and enable the Find my Device option beforehand. If you still lose or someone steals your laptop, follow my tips on what to do if someone stole your device.