When your laptop is lost or stolen, the hardware is only the first of your losses. You value it, but you probably value the contents of your hard drive even more.
Here are ways to minimize the likelihood of losing your laptop as well as ways to raise your chances of getting it back should the worst happen.
Your laptop is a movable feast of information
There’s a lot invested in the typical laptop — as is made painfully clear when one disappears. And it’s not just the hardware and your data; it’s the time it took to adapt to the portable’s keyboard and its idiosyncrasies. A replacement costs not only money but time. It could take days to find a new system suited to your computing style, reinstall applications, restore data, and change settings to your liking.
But the greatest loss could be all your important documents and the potential that someone now has access to your bank account.
Without a full and current backup, those all-important documents, spreadsheets, and family photos (along with passwords, account numbers, and that plan to take over the Tri-Initial Corporation) could most certainly be gone — never to be seen again by you. You’d better hope the thief was stupid enough to wipe the hard drive before checking its contents.
So let’s take care of this problem before it starts. You need to take precautions while you still have your laptop. You must reduce the possibility that it will be stolen. And you need to make sure that if it falls into malicious hands, you won’t lose your files or your privacy. Finally, there are also steps you can take that will give you a reasonable chance of getting the laptop back.
A few physical steps to prevent theft
Let’s assume that you didn’t just leave your laptop in a taxi (and even if you did, chances are good it will fall into the wrong hands). You have to worry about two kinds of thieves: professionals on the lookout for vulnerable laptops and amateurs who see easy pickings. The latter are the easiest to foil.