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5 Ways Any Student Can Prevent Losing a Laptop & 5 Ways to Retrieve It
School’s almost back in session and tech thieves are starting to wake from their summer hibernation. But thieves aren’t the only reason laptops go missing. Let’s not forget that laptops also fall victim to students being too trusting or just plain forgetful. Getting ripped off or losing your laptop can be expensive, not only to parents, but to college students on a tight budget, so spending a few extra bucks upfront to secure it could be worth it. We’ll shed a spotlight on laptop loss prevention and recovering it if it does disappear, plus, we'll cover how to back up and encrypt your personal data –just in case.
Stop Thief!
5 Ways to Keep Your Laptop Yours
 
1. Misperception is Everything
Nothing says “I'm a laptop, steal me,” louder than the typical-looking laptop bag. Opt for a neoprene laptop sleeve and disguise it in a messenger bag or backpack.
2. Not That I Don’t Trust
You, But…

Everyone wants to trust visitors to your dorm or apartment, and for the most part you can. But you never know, so please, lock up your laptop when you’re gone.
3. I’ll Be Right Back
Never, ever, ever leave your laptop unattended. It seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people just step away for a minute and Ka-Blamo! It’s gone.
4. Out of Sight
Lock your laptop in your trunk when you’re not taking it with you. Leaving it in plain sight is a red face waiting to happen.
5. Leash Your Laptop
Most of you already have a Universal Security Slot (USS) on the side of your laptop that can be used to connect a cable or alarm leash. For under $40, you can leash your laptop to just about anything that’s bolted down with a Kensington 64068F. Belkin makes similar a device that sells for around $47 that sounds an alarm if it's removed.

Give It Back, Punk
Theft recovery apps reside on your computer’s hard drive or in the BIOS. As soon as the laptop connects to the Internet, it sends a recovery report with its current location. These apps will e-mail you, delete files, record what’s being typed, and some will even take a webcam photo of the perp in action. Some of these apps even let you track a lost or stolen cell phone or MP3 player.
5 Ways to Catch a Thief
1. LoJack for Laptops
Computrace LoJack for Laptops, by Absolute Software, will run you $45 a year, but it can locate your laptop, remotely freeze files, including the OS, and display a custom message on the screen like “Give My Laptop Back” (or heavier worded messages). In fact, Dell and other major vendors pre-install Computrace directly into BIOS to immunize laptops from wipes and re-installations.
2. Laptop Cop
LaptopCop has a recovery team that works with the police to monitor after-theft activity and remotely control your laptop. You can retrieve and delete files, watch and record what the user is doing, and geo-locate in real-time where the laptop is within 60 feet. It costs $50 for a 1 year license, $100 for 3 years.
3. GadgetTrak
GadgetTrak works to recovery mobile phones, laptops (Mac or PC), and flash drives. Their laptop, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile versions are all priced at $35 per year and will send you an email with your device’s location with 10 meters. And if you have a webcam on your laptop, it can snap a picture of that dirty little thief.
4. iHound
On the inexpensive end, iHound Software can track your iPad, iPod, iPhone, or other USB device and pin point its location on a map for $4. You can download it from the Apple App Store.
5. LAlarm
This one’s free. LAlarm makes free software that can sound a perimeter alarm if your laptop gets up and walks away from a defined area. It also comes with a Data Destruction feature that eliminates personal data if our laptop is taken. You can also do things like recover your data and program your laptop’s response to being stolen.


Extra Protection
Back It Up & Encrypt It
It’s smart to keep sensitive information on a USB drive or in the, "Cloud." Sites like Backupify will give you 2GB of free cloud storage or you can get up to 25GB for $60 per year. For added protection, encrypt all the data on your disk. There are many drive encryption programs on the market. Some versions of Vista and Windows 7 include BitLocker Drive Encryption. You could also use a free open-source, on-the-fly encryption program like True Crypt.
Sync It. Find It. Delete It.
MobileMe can store your contacts, calendar, and emails in a cloud and sync up your iPad, iPhone, PC and Mac. Check out their Find My iPhone App. You can download their Find My iPhone App for free in iTunes. It can locate your iPhone or iPad on a map and remotely display a message on-screen or activate a sound to help you find it. Plus, once it’s considered missing, you can remotely set a passcode and wipe your data so others cannot access it.

Having your devices and personal data ripped off can really ruin your semester so defend yourself. Even if a thief catches you off-guard, you can ruin their score by rendering the device useless or by getting it back and handing them over to the cops. If you do lose your laptop or mobile phone, you can always play “detective” and track it down. Worst case scenario: you still have your data backed up, so you can keep your life on track.


Don’t Lose Your Connection to Retrevo
Don’t forget to hide your laptop or lock it up and don’t forget to check out Retrevo where you’ll find reviews and manuals for all the latest gadgets including cameras, HDTV, laptops and more.
Retrevo.com is one of the largest consumer electronics review and shopping sites in the world, helping people decide what to buy, when to buy, and where to buy. Retrevo uses artificial intelligence to analyze and graphically summarize more than 50 million real-time data points from across the web to give shoppers the most comprehensive, unbiased, up-to-date product information they need to make smart, confident purchasing decisions for electronics.

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