Whether your laptop has been stolen or you have simply misplaced it, it can be a scary circumstance to find yourself in. After all, laptops carry many of our personal lives in them. They hold valuable information such as our bank numbers and financial information. They also have more sentimental things saved in them: pictures of loved ones we will never retrieve or the novels we will never be able to finish. Luckily, there are several ways to track your lost or stolen laptop.
Each method is varied, and there is almost certainly a way to track it, regardless of your circumstance. But keep in mind, both these methods are such that you need to implement from before such a mishap happens.
Let’s take a look at the two simple ways that I have been talking about in the headline…
Do note, if you did not have a software installed or/and don’t know how to track/trace IPs then its best to file a police report and follow-up with authorities.
Method One: Use a Good Tracking Software
The most effective and sometimes expensive way to help you track your lost or stolen laptop is to install a good tracking software on the device before you actually misplace it.
I am not going to talk about iCloud or even Android Device Manager, because they are too specific and don’t cater to the mass laptops running Windows.
Also, the below mentioned softwares are something that you need to have on your laptop BEFORE an accident happens, not after!
Absolute Home and Office
Absolute will allow users to remotely locate your laptop via WiFi geolocation. WiFi geolocation uses the WiFi Positioning System (which is essentially a massive database of Wi-Fi access points) to discover the last place(s) your laptop was connected to the internet. Software that uses this technology is extremely handy when hoping to hunt down your laptop. The Basic version will help you locate, lock and delete sensitive information on your device. The Standard version will help you locate, lock, delete and recover your device and if you upgrade to Absolute Premium you are guaranteed laptop compensation if they are unable to retrieve your lost/stolen laptop.
There is also Prey which allows free and paid installation for Windows, iOS, Mac, Android and Ubuntu. They have different plans for Education, Enterprise and Individuals. Their Personal Plan for individuals covers tracking 3 devices, and providing device security and data protection while their free plan only covers tracking down the devices.
There is also Front Door Software which offers different plans for personal use, universities / schools and Business / Enterprise.
For a business solution, we also recommend EXO5 –
There are a few more solutions out there that should be listed here but we will cover those more extensively at a later stage. Let’s take a look at method number two to track a laptop.
Method Two – Gmail IP, Dropbox Sync and Social Media
Many people do not know this, but it is possible to track the IP address of your device through many popular apps and services like Gmail and Dropbox. For those of you who don’t understand tech lingo, an IP address is sort of like your address on the internet. It is a unique indicator to your internet device that can be tracked and located.
When you want to track your lost or stolen laptop, hunting down the various IP addresses it may access is the most straightforward way to do it. To track these sessions, simply go into the settings of your favourite, most frequently used sites from another laptop or device, and check the latest login sessions.
If the robber has opened your laptop then the chances are your Dropbox has made an automatic sync (if there is internet) and your Gmail has refreshed to download new emails.
These sessions usually have IP addresses associated with them, which will help you find your lost or stolen laptop. Dropbox is great for this because it syncs your information in the background, so it is technically constantly logging in.
Gmail is great if you are tracking a thief because they will often times scroll through your mail to find private information. Facebook has a specific tab for login locations, which should make tracking your laptop that much easier from there.
If you have a Macbook, you can also use iCloud to track it down. The function is similar to the Find My iPhone app that also works through iCloud.
As you can see, losing your laptop isn’t the end of the world because there are simple ways to help you locate and retrieve it. Tracking software is by far the easiest, but for those who want to proactively seek out their laptops, or just can’t afford the software, tracking the IP is an equally effective alternative.