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Old 14th February 2012, 22:30   #1
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Default Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

Hi,

My laptop was recently stolen. Having never had anything of mine stolen before, this was quite an experience - and quite a bad one at that! The police have said that the chances of catching the thief are quite slim.

So, I've been thinking if there are any ways of tracking down the laptop? I've come across several software's such as Prey, which will help you in tracking down your laptop if it is stolen. How I wish that I had something like this installed on my laptop.

Having none of these tracking software's installed on my laptop, is there any other way of getting clues to it's current location? The laptop is running a genuine copy of Windows 7 Home premium, and has MSE anti virus installed. The automatic updates are set to run on a daily basis, and MSE also checks for virus definitions on a daily basis.

Is there any way that Microsoft would be able to provide me with the most recent IP address used to download any of these updates based on my Windows serial number? (This is all considering that the thief has not formatted my computer)

Any other suggestions are welcome!

Thanks
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Old 14th February 2012, 22:40   #2
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Default re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by majorpayne View Post
Hi,

My laptop was recently stolen. Having never had anything of mine stolen before, this was quite an experience - and quite a bad one at that! The police have said that the chances of catching the thief are quite slim.

So, I've been thinking if there are any ways of tracking down the laptop? I've come across several software's such as Prey, which will help you in tracking down your laptop if it is stolen. How I wish that I had something like this installed on my laptop.

Having none of these tracking software's installed on my laptop, is there any other way of getting clues to it's current location? The laptop is running a genuine copy of Windows 7 Home premium, and has MSE anti virus installed. The automatic updates are set to run on a daily basis, and MSE also checks for virus definitions on a daily basis.

Is there any way that Microsoft would be able to provide me with the most recent IP address used to download any of these updates based on my Windows serial number? (This is all considering that the thief has not formatted my computer)

Any other suggestions are welcome!

Thanks
Sorry to hear that. Hope you get it back soon!

Was your laptop password protected?
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Old 14th February 2012, 22:45   #3
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Default re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

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Sorry to hear that. Hope you get it back soon!

Was your laptop password protected?
Yes. The administrator account was password protected. But the guest account was enabled.

No BIOS password though :(
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Old 15th February 2012, 00:09   #4
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Default re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

Check with your manufacturer. I could vaguely remember when I bought my Lenovo TP a year ago, reading about theft protection where the manufacturer has the possibility to track the location of the Laptop based on the IP address of my machine when it goes online. I'm however not quite sure about this.
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Old 15th February 2012, 00:26   #5
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Default re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

you mean the mac id of the adapter ? all pcs have unique mac ids for their lan jacks. AFAIK the way to circumvent this is by using a wifi dongle, no way the ISP is going to know the machine id. yes, they can find out by the installation id of the pc/hardware machine id but again, if the person who so ever has sold it will sell it off again for gain.
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Old 15th February 2012, 00:29   #6
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Default re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

I would search on craigslist and kijiji for the laptop. If its a dumb thief, you might get it back.

Doubt if Microsoft will do anything to help.
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Old 15th February 2012, 02:39   #7
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Default Re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

without having any pre-installed location reporting software, chances are grim for recovery, but don't loose hope sometimes our police do catch such thefts along other crimes.

There are India based software's for laptop locations, like locatelaptop. com etc

Also having genuine windows won't improve chances of recovery as if I am not mistaken the laptop would be wiped by thief before its sold.

Anyway best of luck and if possible get Hardware ID and mac Add. of your machine as I read somewhere on forums that police may ask for it when giving it back if recovered.
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Old 15th February 2012, 05:28   #8
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Default Re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

I usually put BIOS boot-able password so whenever it boots up it asks for password, so if someone steals it, they cannot even boot it and reinstall the OS. But this way i am also preventing any location specific software to get activated and send some info.

Also on my corporate MAC Sysadmin have enabled FileVault so as all the files on my disc are stored encrypted and cannot be opened by someone else if he/she does not have the password. Keeps the data safe.
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Old 15th February 2012, 08:53   #9
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Default Re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

Late but next time try Prey Control. Open source anti-theft solution for your laptop, phone and tablet – Prey
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Old 15th February 2012, 09:03   #10
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Default Re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

There's LO-JACK for securing the laptop against security theft (among other things). It is not available in India yet though.

Check it out here : LoJack Security Systems for Stolen Vehicle Recovery, GPS Anti-Theft and Persons at Risk

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
I usually put BIOS boot-able password so whenever it boots up it asks for password
Do you use a software for it or you've put it in the BIOS option.

There's also this software : "TrueCrypt" for enforcing a software on boot-up.
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Old 15th February 2012, 10:44   #11
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Angry Re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

To be crudely straight forward , should tell you that the chances of getting your laptop back is almost zero.

as you mentioned , the BIOS was not paswword protected , IMO the OS would have been formated/re-installed already , so Microsoft won't be of any use in such a case.

Did you have any sensitive data in it ? If yes , was it stored in the Admin acoount or the shared partions ?

Its very hard to track a laptop because of various reasons like , he might not use the same internet connection all the time , he might hitch-hike on someone else's wifi , could login by mobile internet or worse could not login at all !

We all know how bad the police is in retrieving even the GPS enabled smartphone , so imagine how they would be with laptops.
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Old 15th February 2012, 11:23   #12
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Default Re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

There is no point in having any passwords, bios or OS level since both can be easily overcame with bios reset and OS re-installation. Encryption and regular back up may help from theft or losing important data though. I usually make sure that all my important data folders, including mail pst files are accessible only to my login id.

I dont think any sensible thief would try to use anything that is installed in laptop. He will simply take it to some repair shop and ask them to re-install the OS and sell it later. This would be similar to mobile phone thiefs who change the SIM card immediately after theft.

Regarding tracking the laptop, unless you get co-operation from ISPs or companies such as Microsoft, it will be next to impossible. Btw, I notice that you live in Canada. Don't they have any such option?
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Old 15th February 2012, 12:08   #13
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Default Re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

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Good to know, thanks for sharing this, I immediately installed it on my laptop.
But why would a thief login to stolen laptop and go on-line before formatting it? I mean its good to have this security but wondering if it ill work if a "professional;" steals it . If at all someone just boots it and before login, a report is send then it will definitely help. For phones I think this makes a lot of sense.
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Old 15th February 2012, 16:03   #14
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Default Re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

Most of us would be more worried about the data falling in the wrong hands, rather than the loss of a laptop.

TrueCrypt - Free Open-Source On-The-Fly Disk Encryption Software for Windows 7/Vista/XP, Mac OS X and Linux - HIGHLY recommended. Nearly impossible to crack and it's free. Sure, the initial set up might look intimidating, but you'll eventually get the hang of it. Best part of all, I have yet to find a bug in the truecrypt software.

Choose the "full disk" encryption option. It's very easy to set up and doesn't require any more effort than entering a pre-boot password when you start your laptop.
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Old 15th February 2012, 16:09   #15
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Default Re: Laptop Stolen! Any Software/Device to track stolen laptops?

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Originally Posted by majorpayne View Post
Yes. The administrator account was password protected. But the guest account was enabled.

No BIOS password though :(
I am sure he is using the guest login. was it a mac and did you have a built-in webcam?

You should check this out:
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