Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm in a bit of a panic, my new Powerbook laptop was stolen. I had no mobile me, or security software installed on the computer. I have the MAC address of the computer as well as the serial number. Is there a hacky way to do this?

I was even thinking perhaps of trying to use bluetooth, I know I had it set to discoverable. and I know the "name" of the computer, perhaps there is app that can scan the names of bluetooh computers in the vicinity?

If there some third party you can get to scan the internet for your MAC address?

Any glimmer of hope would really help.

share|improve this question

migrated from Feb 5 '11 at 21:17

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Call the cops. Otherwise, not so much. – jcolebrand Feb 5 '11 at 21:16
If you are within bluetooth range, just walk to the thief and say "I believe this is my computer here". – Randolf Richardson Feb 5 '11 at 21:19

If there is no tracking software installed on your computer, then there probably isn't any technology solution to getting it back; however, here are a few possibilities:

  • Have you installed any sort of remote-control software, like LogMeIn?
  • Do you have a Dynamic DNS client installed? You probably don't, but you never know...
  • Do you have a gmail account which you are either logged onto in the browser or have setup to download mail via POP or IMAP? If so, you can check Gmail's acess logs and possibly get the IP address of where your computer was last seen.

Any of those methods might help you find the IP from which the computer was last accessed. If you can get the IP address, you can figure out who the ISP is, and the local police department can contact them and ask for where that IP corresponds to. Most ISPs will cooperate with these sorts of requests; even if they don't, the police could subpoena them for it, that would just take a bit longer.

You should also report this to the police immediately. Tell them the serial number of your laptop; this way, if the thief tries to sell it, there's a possibility that it will be on a reported-stolen list and the seller may be caught. It's not likely, but it's a possibility.

Finally, if you have insurance, contact your insurance agent right away to report that it was stolen. There's a chance they might be able to cover some of the cost of replacing the laptop if it can't be recovered, and might even have suggestions for how to get it back.

share|improve this answer

If you have an administrator password set, and have it configured to use a static IP address, then it's possible (but very unlikely) that you could eventually track it down. I'd probably start by monitoring eBay and Craigslist.

The YouTube video below tells how hacker "Zoz" located his Mac after it had been stolen. It may give you some hope, or some hints. Even if not, it's an amusing and well told story. The relevant part starts at about 3:15 in.

What happens when you steal a hackers computer:
Defcon 18 Pwned By the owner What happens when you steal a hackers (YouTube Video)

share|improve this answer
Fantastic video – Joe Taylor Feb 5 '11 at 22:36

It's only possible to lookup a mac address in a local network and Bluetooth has only a small range where it can be detected. So I'm sory to dsay but it will be hard to do something for you.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .