With the advancement in technology, computers have changed sizes. They have come a long way from Hugh, bulky devices to small, ultra-portable gadgets. This essentially means you can now take technology with you, whenever you go. However, there is another aspect to shrinking hardware; your gadgets are now more prone to theft and misplacement. Smartphones have replaced the heavy and bulky old phones, and lighter, more powerful laptops have replaced the heavy-duty, clunky ones. Their reduced sizes now make it easy for us to carry them around, but also increase the chances of losing them. Not to mention, all the valuable data that also goes away with the loss of such devices. Therefore, you need to take precautionary measures in order to avoid losing your gadgets, and have contingency plans to retrieve lost gadgets.
- Most laptops nowadays come with a built-in Wi-Fi and webcam. The first thing is to set up a strong password on your computer, so that it is useless for anyone else. Of course, if you have important data on your computer, it becomes more valuable.
- If you have to take your computer to your workplace, you can’t keep a watch over it all the time. In this case, you can just press “Win key + L” to lock the computer so that no one else can snoop into your private stuff.
- It is never a bad idea to back up your data regularly. You never know when the unspeakable happens.
Of course, these steps do not ensure or protect the machine from physical theft. A utility called “Laptop Alarm” can help you in that regard. Once you set it up, you just need to lock your computer (Win key + L) and if someone tries to get away with the machine in your absence, the laptop will make a loud noise when the charging cord is unplugged, alerting you and others that something is definitely wrong. Laptop Alarm also has a bunch of other useful options that can be used.
Another alternative is an open-source program called “Prey”; available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and even for Android smartphones. You simply need to install it, create an account, set it up, and forget about it, as long as you have your computer in your possession.
What to do when the laptop is lost or stolen?
We sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen to your gadgets! In the tragic event that you do lose your laptop, all you have to do is log-in to Prey’s website, and set the status of your laptop as missing. Now here’s the fun (almost cathartic) part. You can activate Prey to take photos from the webcam after the fixed interval, and take screenshots of the screen, and send them to your predefined e-mail address whenever the laptop is connected to the web. This helps you identify the culprit, and see what he is doing on your computer. Not only this, it can also send you reports of modified files and accessed folders. Prey can also send you the IP address being used, as well as Geo-location data using Wi-Fi hotspots. This way, it can also generate a route of places where the laptop (and the culprit) has been.
However, rather than just sitting there and helplessly watching the perpetrator do his work on your computer, get a grip and remember that you still have some things in your control. You can secure your data, encrypt stuff, delete all your browsers’ history and saved passwords to secure all the sensitive stuff. On the more proactive side, you can set up a loud alarm that goes off when the computer is turned on. You can even lock the computer with a specified password, or just render it completely unusable, while leaving a message (with return details) on the front screen, so that if it ends up in the hands of a remotely-decent person, you may have a chance of having it returned to you. These steps are recommended to be followed solely when you know where the machine is, otherwise the criminal may just reinstall the operating system (OS) and that is not what we want. It is a good idea to leave a guest account available on your OS just in case, so that the culprit can log in straightaway, once the laptop is in his possession, and you can start receiving early updates from Prey.