Losing your precious laptop feels like a nightmare that nobody even wants to ponder upon because infringement of your data through unauthorized means especially if you are a college chap or a business tycoon might sound like the end of the world to you.
If the looming existential dread of having your laptop stolen is plaguing your mind or you already found yourself in such a fiasco, I would advise you to hold your horses and try reading this article on How to Track a Stolen Laptop with Serial Number and how it might be your light at the end of the tunnel.
Keep in mind that this article is divided into two parts the first one is oriented towards precautionary measures as prevention is better than cure and the second part is catered towards those individuals that found themselves in hot waters.
Precautionary Measures 101: Part 1
Follow these steps below to prevent your laptop from falling into the wrong hands,
1. Make Sure Its Registered
The first method is the surefire way to ensure you can easily track your laptop from a mile away, however, make sure you have purchased it from a verified vendor and it’s not a refurbished one as those sorts of laptops might have hardware serial-based modifications.
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.
2. Install A Third Party Tracker Tracker
This might cost you a penny, however, the price you pay is far lesser than what you might be losing in your unfortunate future.
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.
3. Use Propertiary Software Based Tracking
This one is a no-brainer and is borderline free, there is an inbuilt feature in your laptop operating system which is known as “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 more secure overall experience. Here is how you can enable it,
- Head over to your system settings and click on “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. Tracking Your Laptop if It’s Lost: Part 2
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.
1. Track A Stolen Laptop via Its Serial Number
Let me say this first, 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.
2. 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.
3. 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., are 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. 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.
4. 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 more 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 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.
- 1. Log in to your Dropbox account, be it from the website or app.
- 2. Go straight down into “Settings” and then into “Security”.
- 3. 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.
- 4. 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.
- 1. Open Gmail’s web version and get into your Inbox.
- 2. Scroll down straight to the bottom and check out “Details” under the “Last account activity” in the rightmost corner.
- 3. Click on “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.
- 4. 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.
You might also be interested in Factory Reset Your HP Laptop? [Tested Methods]
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some related and frequently asked questions by people.
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.
Losing your laptop, be it through theft or unintentionally leaving it at the back of an Uber you just hopped on might is never a rare sight.
However, it is wise to have precautionary measures set up or take immediate countermeasures rather than panicking in such situations because every second you waste drastically reduces the chances of your laptop recovery.
Nevertheless, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and advise you to carefully follow the steps mentioned above on How to Track a Stolen Laptop with Serial Number.