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How to Recover a Stolen Laptop?

Concerned about losing a laptop and trying to get it back? In this episode the Tech Talker shows you the easy (and free) way how to track your stolen computer!

By
Eric Escobar,
February 8, 2012
Episode #016

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Before I start this episode I have a story that I think many of my listeners can relate to. My cousin Kevin got his first laptop in high school.  He had it all set up for the first day of school and typed out all of his class notes diligently. At the end of the day, he decided he would leave it to charge in his classroom while he went to gym. Big mistake! When he returned, the laptop was nowhere to be found and most of the students had already left for the day. He had to confront his parents with the bad news that he had lost his brand new laptop on the first day of class!

The next day, Kevin went to school and his teacher approached him asking if had left his laptop in the classroom the day before. Turns out, the teacher had seen the laptop left out and put it away before anything could happen. Man, was he lucky! Unfortunately, Kevin was still in a ton of trouble with his parents for being so irresponsible. And this is where I come in.

Kevin’s parents asked me if I knew of any way they could have tracked the laptop had it actually been stolen. Even though that’s pretty impossible to do after a device is gone, the good news is that with a few minutes of your time, you can set up a full-on security system on your portable devices so they can be recovered in the unlucky event of theft.

So in today’s episode, I will tell you how to set up an anti-theft and recovery program on your laptop so if it does go missing, you can actually have a chance of getting it back!

How to Install Anti-Theft Protection on Your Laptop

The program I use to keep my laptop safe is called Prey. You install it once and forget about it until you need it! What happens is this: If someone runs off with your computer, all you have to do is go to the Prey website and report your computer missing. This is when Prey comes to life. The next time the laptop connects to the internet, it will provide you with a wealth of information. It will give you screen shots of what the thief has been looking at on your computer, it will take a picture from your webcam of the thief, and it will even give you their IP address which can be used to narrow down the thief’s location to a few blocks!

Prey is also open source, so if you’re a tech expert, you can take a look at the code behind the software so you can verify that nothing fishy is going on. From all the research that I’ve done, I haven’t heard anything but great things about this program. It works on practically every system too – Linux, Mac, Windows, Android and even IOS! And the best part is that it is free.

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