What to do if your laptop is stolen
If you've already looked around and are certain your laptop was stolen, report the incident to the police immediately and take steps to protect your personal information. Even if you have a tracking service that tells you where your laptop is, let the authorities handle any confrontations with the potential thief. If you have not recovered your laptop and you have laptop insurance, file a laptop theft claim.
What to do after your laptop is stolen
If someone has stolen your laptop, any information stored on it could put you at risk of identity theft. Before you try to track your stolen laptop, take these immediate steps to prevent identity theft:
If you use the laptop for work, notify your employer immediately. Your IT department may have procedures that can help lock down information on the computer.
Log out of all your accounts remotely using another device, like your cell phone, to protect the personal and financial information stored in them. Before logging out, check for any location data available for your logged-in devices. Your laptop may be one of those devices, and you can use that information to track its location.
Log into your browser accounts to delete any saved passwords, disable autofill, and un-sync your browsers across devices. Taking these steps can help prevent someone with your laptop from easily logging into your accounts.
How to find a stolen laptop
If you find your laptop missing, look around to ensure it wasn't simply misplaced. Or maybe someone like a family member, roommate, or friend borrowed it without your knowledge. Check the places you usually keep it, where you last used it, and check with anyone who could've had access to it whether they've seen it.
Call the authorities
You should file a report for a stolen laptop. If you're at school or on campus, start with security and follow their instructions. If you can track and locate your laptop, don't confront the thief yourself.
Check your account with the manufacturer
If you've registered your laptop with the manufacturer, log into your account using another device and see if you can track your laptop. If the laptop is connected to the internet, you may be able to see its location on a map. Notify the authorities if you find information that could point them to the laptop's location.
Check your other accounts and features
If you haven't registered your device with the manufacturer, try logging into cloud service providers like Gmail or Dropbox. Some of these services offer similar features, allowing you to see the location of all your logged-in devices. For example, if you were logged into the service on your laptop when it was stolen, you may be able to track it that way.
File a laptop insurance claim
If someone has stolen your laptop and the authorities aren't able to locate it, or if your stolen laptop was recovered but damaged, file a laptop insurance claim. Laptop insurance can cover theft-related repair or replacement costs up to your limit and minus your deductible. Note that you will need to file a police report for theft and vandalism claims.
Can you track a stolen laptop?
Yes, there are ways to track a stolen laptop, but only if it's connected to the internet. You must first register the device with the laptop's manufacturer (like Apple or Microsoft) if they offer a tracking feature. There may also be third-party laptop tracking services you can sign up for. Once the computer is registered, you can log into the service from any device. You will be able to see where your tracked laptop is based on its IP address and the location of its internet connection.
How to protect your laptop from theft
Electronic devices often come with a standard warranty that covers manufacturer defects, but warranties don't cover theft or accidental damage. You can get electronic device insurance to insure laptops, so if someone steals your device, you will be covered. You will not have to pay for a new one completely out of pocket. In addition to insuring your laptop, there are steps you can take to keep your laptop safe from theft.
There are ways to track your laptop, but they only work if you take the right steps beforehand, like registering your laptop with a site like Microsoft or Apple. Even if you choose not to use these services, you should back up your laptop regularly, so you don't lose any data if the device is damaged, lost, or stolen. You should also store your device in a safe, secure place.