“Your laptop has got stolen. It’s nowhere there in the bag”, said one of my friends, and it sounded like the end of the world to me.
Sad to say this, but that’s actually what happened to me a few days back in the university’s coffee shop when it was, just like always, our lunch gathering over there. Well, I don’t want to recall things now, but yeah, my belief that I always take the best care of my gadgets, turned out to be a fallacy and nothing else.
It was intolerable for me, and to make the matter worse, I did not even know, how to track a stolen laptop with Serial Number. Although later, I came to know that there are many ways to get the job done and you can even track a missing laptop with its serial number but it was too late to revert things, by then. In short, the security of your laptop is the very first priority no matter if you have a business laptop or a student laptop.
Well, I hope you never experience going through any such sinister situation in your life, but since we often confront unusual things happening usually, getting prepared for the worst is wise, indeed.
So let’s do it now.
You’ll Find Here
This article is basically divided into two parts i.e. one is the pre-disaster part whereas the other one is the post-disaster part. Succinctly saying, the article answers these two queries i.e.
- What things do you need to consider to ensure the ultimate safety of your gadgets?
- What are the different ways to track your laptop etc., if stolen?
So, let’s get down and explore each one separately.
#1. Things You Need to Consider to Ensure the Safety of Your Gadgets
Since I have personally experienced this tight corner, I came to know what are those key steps one must take to prevent any such situation to happen. Hence here are a few.
- Make sure your device is registered with the manufacturer.
- Install the best tracking software on your laptop.
- Enable the laptop’s default features i.e. Find My Device etc.
#I. Make Sure Your Device is Registered With the Manufacturer.
Getting your laptop registered with the manufacturer benefits you in many different ways. Since your laptop constantly transmits a variety of information via its serial number, the manufacturer, this way, can record the serial number of this particular product to communicate with you later, regarding new updates, etc.
Hence, if any such misfortune takes place, this recorded data can, of course, be of great use.
#II. Install A Best Tracking Software
Notwithstanding that it’s one massively voted way you must consider to make sure the ultimate security of your device. If you have, say “Prey” or “Adiona” for instance, for both of these, are widely recognized tracking programs used worldwide, you are never out of luck to get back your missing gadget, in case it misplaces.
Just install them and register your device by providing some key information and details etc. And boom! Wherever it is, you have now full-fledged remote access to your laptop or whatever device it is all the time.
#III. Enable the Device’s Default Tracking Features
Be it a Windows laptop or Mac, there is an inbuilt feature named “Find my device”.
Although disabled by default, this feature as its name suggests keeps a full record of your device. It enables you to remotely access it, track it, and have a much better and secured overall experience.
In Mac devices, it’s called “Find my Mac”. Whereas, Microsoft also introduced this “Find my device” feature in Windows laptops, that somewhere in 2015.
Here, keeping the focus majorly on Windows devices, I am gonna teach you how to enable this feature in a Windows 10 laptop.
- Go to the Main/All Settings of your laptop, seek out the “Update and Security” settings and open it.
- In the left sidebar there, look for “Find my device” and click on it.
- You’ll see its setting expanded on the right side of the screen. Notice whether the feature is On or Off.
- If it is “On”, great. But if it’s “Off”, click to turn it “On”.
- Get back to the main menu and open the “Privacy” settings now.
- There, seek out the “Location”, click it, and turn these both i.e. “GPS location” and “Allow devices to access your location”, On.
The feature has been enabled now. To make sure everything is working fine, log into your Microsoft account, and check out if this device is listed under “Your devices” or not. If it shows up there, you are done.
#2. Different Ways to Track Your Stolen Laptop
Now, since all the necessary preliminary steps for your gadget’s safety purposes have been discussed, if unluckily, any such incident takes place, you can easily track your missing laptop and chances are high that you get hold of it, again.
Here are some of the most widely applicable ways.
- Using your laptop serial number
- By using the already installed tracking software
- By using the default features i.e. “Find my device”
- By the Mac or IP address of your laptop
Let’s now check out how each one works.
#I. Track A Stolen Laptop via Its Serial Number
Let me say this first that, just a product’s serial number is not enough to help you find out your stolen laptop. Still, since we know that it’s being constantly monitored by the manufacturer, so in any such undesired scenario, you can ask them about this information and they can easily provide you with it.
It’s although not sort of some precise information, nor does it provides a precise location of the stolen product, but still you can try your luck this way.
#II. Using the Already Installed Tracking Software
Ponder that, if you had some tracking software installed on that laptop, you can now open the same software in your smartphone, etc. and since that missing laptop was registered on it, you can obtain more than enough information regarding all the post-incident movements, etc. on your phone now.
Just pray that the thief is not someone tech-savvy, otherwise, he would, first of all, uninstall the software to make sure that he is not at any sort of risk.
#III. Using the Device’s Default Tracking Features
No matter whether it’s a Windows laptop or a Mac, if that default, “Find my device”, and other aforementioned features i.e. GPS tracking, etc., is enabled on it, you can try this method too, to get your stolen laptop tracked.
Just use your same Microsoft account on any other device, and since that laptop is already listed in your “Your devices” list, you can click on the “Find my device” button under that laptop’s name and get all the necessary information.
#IV. By Tracking the Laptop’s Mac or IP Address
Mac and IP address, both are sort of unique IDs assigned to your device while it’s on the internet so that the device can be easily identified. So, this is the last but one best way for you to consider if all of the above methods prove ineffective.
Although practices show that the Mac address is not that worth it in such cases, the IP address i.e. the Internet Protocol, your unique internet identity, is a much rational and authentic way to track your device. You can reach your internet service provider, and using this IP address, can get full-fledged access to your misplaced device’s address and location, etc.
If you have logged in to any of your these accounts i.e. Dropbox, Gmail, Facebook or Outlook, etc., on that laptop, you can then easily get that laptop’s IP address.
Here’s the how-to guide for you.
Follow these few simple steps, if you are on Dropbox.
- Log in to your Dropbox account, be it from the website or app.
- Go straight down into the “Settings” and then into the “Security”.
- Scroll down and there you`ll see all the required details i.e. log-in sessions and which device has accessed your account and when etc.
- Check out the recent activity, click on the device, and you`ll easily get that device’s IP address.
Log in to your Facebook account on your new device and into the “Security and login” settings, seek out “Where you’re logged in”. You’ll see all the activities with regard to your Facebook account. Check out the suspicious activity, hover your cursor on it and you’ll get the IP address of that device.
Gmail keeps a full record of all your account activities etc. and constantly notifies you of all the suspicious acts to your account. So, it’s believed to be an even much authentic solution to your likewise issues. Let’s check it out.
- Open Gmail’s web version and get into your Inbox.
- Scroll down straight to the bottom and check out “Details” under the “Last account activity” in the rightmost corner.
- Click on the “Details”, and you’ll see a new window popping up including all the account activity details along with the IP addresses of the device that has accessed it.
- Here’s where you can get that required IP address.
Since it’s Microsoft’s own software, it’s a way better solution for you in any such scenario. Just log in to your Outlook account and click on your profile picture (top right corner). Click “View account” and then “Devices”, and you’ll get a list of all the connected devices.
Filter out that specific (stolen) laptop, you’ll see the “Find my device” button below it, click on it and you’ll get the exact location of the device straight on the map.
Can a laptop be tracked with serial number?
You can actually track a stolen laptop if it’s linked to Microsoft’s “find my device” utility, which will mark the location of the laptop on the map whenever it’s connected to the internet.
Is it possible to track a stolen laptop?
A laptop with “Lojack” installed will definitely be able to ping its ping location to its owner, but an internet connection is necessary to pinpoint its exact location.
Can I track my stolen laptop if it’s been factory reset?
A factory reset or wiping away of the previous owner’s files and account will disable any tracking enabled by “find my device Utility”. After a factory reset, you won’t be able to locate your device.
Take the best care of your gadgets, consider all the necessary precursory countermoves to ensure their safety, and unluckily, say your laptop, if still gets snatched or stolen, learn all the tricks and tactics to get it back again.
All the answers i.e. how to track a stolen laptop with serial number, via the IP address, or via those other possible way-outs, the article covers everything. It’s one, a most comprehensive guide for you. So, get back and do give it a read.