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How to secure a laptop against thieves

How can I protect my laptop from thieves? Is there any software that can trace my laptop if it is stolen? What is the software? How to use it?

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marked as duplicate by Arjan, Diago Dec 10 '10 at 15:40

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
Please rephrase your question in the title so that it reflects the actual question. "Software question" is way too broad. –  Aron Rotteveel Dec 10 '10 at 10:45
    
Please add the manufacturer's name of your laptop –  Tog Dec 10 '10 at 10:58

3 Answers 3

Some laptop manufacturers (HP for one) use a firmware resident solution that recopies itself to the disk and is just as effective with Linux. This overcomes the problem of the disk being wiped or formatted after it is stolen as the programme just rebuilds itself. The one I use is called Computrace but I believe it's necessary for your laptop to have the right chipset in place to use it so it may not be a solution for you. Contact the manufacturer of your laptop and ask, they may be able to help.

From Absolute Software's website:

The technology behind Computrace® LoJack® for Laptops by Absolute® Software is the Computrace Agent, a small software client that is embedded into the BIOS firmware of most computers at the factory. Or you can easily install yourself.

The Agent in your computer maintains daily contact with the Absolute Monitoring Center. If you report your computer stolen, Agent contact will increase to every 15 minutes. Increased contact allows us to obtain specific details like the physical location of your computer, any activity that has occurred post-theft, and other important data that will aid us in working with local law enforcement to catch the thief and return your property to you.

Regardless of recovery status, you can remotely delete data to remove some or all of the information stored on your computer so that it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. This could include files and applications containing personal photos, internet bookmarks, browser cookies, financial information, and stored passwords. Everything an identity thief would need to steal your identity.

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Prey has been mentioed a few times before here, although as the others have mentioned it doesn't account for the theif removing or wiping the hard disk. For a hardware method you'd need something like a small GPS tracker which would probably cost more than the laptop is worth.

Alnother thing is to secure the laptop itself, such as using a kensington lock, or placing a label or sticker on the front with "trackable by prey" on it.

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Any software solution can be circumvented by either formatting the hard drive or simply removing it. It also requires that the laptop is turned and connected to the internet or a mobile phone network on to work - which is not guaranteed.

While there is software available, it does rely on the thief not doing anything to your hard drive.

If you want allow for this then you'll need to install some hardware - which could get expensive.

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Depends on the level of protection you want. There are tons of stupid thieves out there who wouldn't suspect something like this. Encrypted personal files + tracking software are very a very low cost/low maintenance way to get at least some security. –  Daniel Beck Dec 10 '10 at 10:28

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