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!

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #16

At first, the part about it being free seemed too good to be true—until I did a bit more digging. When you report your device missing to Prey, you will get a log that your stolen device sent to you from the Prey website. The basic service is free to use, but the pro edition has many more features along with an increased frequency of logs. So what this means is that with a free account you may only get one log file every two hours, but with a pro account you can get a log file every 2 minutes! Basically that means you can check the status of your computer every 2 minutes, as opposed to waiting two hours for more information. The best part is that you can upgrade at any time. So for myself, I have the free version installed, and if my machine ever gets stolen, I can immediately pay for the premium service in order to help apprehend the thief.

Now I just want to clear a few things up. This is not a be-all, end-all solution. Your computer must be turned on and connected to the internet for Prey to be activated. So if a thief simply sells the parts of your computer, you’ll be out of luck. But if he or she connects to the internet, Prey is a great first line of defense.

I was reading the recovery stories on Prey’s website and they’re pretty impressive. One guy had his MacBook stolen and pretty much gave up any hope of finding it. Then he remembered that he had installed Prey a while back. He logged onto his account, reported his laptop as missing, and minutes later began getting log files. From here, he got a picture of the thief on the webcam and a screenshot of him logged onto his Facebook page. He then got an approximate location of the laptop, and contacted the police. Not long after, there was a knock at the perp’s door and the cops got a full confession, recovered the MacBook, along with other electronics the guy had not realized were missing yet!

With that said, here are your 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for keeping your gadgets safe:

  1. Always keep an eye on your electronics—don’t leave them in public.

  2. Use Prey, or a program like Prey, to keep tabs on your on your device should it go missing.

  3. Keep a strong password on your device so your data is safe even if your device is stolen!

Well that’s all for today!

Have a question about anything in this episode? Or a suggestion for a future podcast? Send me an email at techtalker@quickanddirtytips.com or post it on the Tech Talker Facebook wall.

Until next time, I’m the Tech Talker, keeping technology simple!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.