I usually buy a new laptop every few years, and even though I work from home 98% of the time, there is software that I always install first thing: LockItTight. If the machine ever gets lost or stolen, it will give me a much better chance of tracking it. And even though it has been around for years, it is still free. Please note that CNET may receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the products shown on this page.
How big is this problem? According to a 2018 Kensington report (PDF), 1 in 10 laptops will get lost or stolen from an organization, while Techspective cites a Gartner study indicating that a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. Even in these days of ubiquitous security cameras, it is still fairly easy for a thief to smash a window and take a laptop from a home, car or office.
Surely the only thing worse than a stolen laptop is knowing there is no way to get it back. It's not like it can "call home" to report its location.
It is actually with the right software installed. For example, Absolute Home & Office (formerly LoJack for laptops) can track a stolen system, but this enviable capacity costs $ 15- $ 60 per year depending on which subscription option you choose.
Track Your Laptop For Free
Thankfully, there is a cheaper alternative: LockItTight, a laptop recovery service and service that you can get for as little as zero dollars. It is a surprisingly capable solution, and while it will not actually deter a thief, it is definitely one of those tools that it is definitely worth having.
Like similar recovery solutions, LockItTight operates a small background client that remains more or less dormant until it is remotely activated. . In other words, if you log into your account from another computer, you can see your lost or stolen laptop's location on a map and be alerted as it goes in and out of designated zones. You can also take a screenshot, webcam (busted, thief!), Keystroke log, browser history and so on.
All this is because your laptop is connected to the Internet. If a thief just shuts down the system without first turning it on and connecting to Wi-Fi, LockItTight probably won't do anything for you. Similarly, if you password protect your laptop, which you probably should, there is little chance that it can connect to Wi-Fi to report its location. But as I said before, it is worth having, but it is not your chances to recover much closer to zero.
LockItTight offers four different pricing plans, but I suspect most users will be completely satisfied with the surprisingly free. It lets you track up to five devices, including laptops, Chromebooks, iPhones ($ 699 at Amazon) and Android phones – though the latter two obviously have their own tracking options courtesy of Apple and Google.  Upgrading to Standard, Premium or Ultimate only increases the number of saved reports and how often they are produced. If your main goal is simply to track, I definitely recommend that you start with the free version. You should also check out Prey, a similar service that offers free protection for up to three devices (Mac and Linux laptops among them).
I'm not saying that LockItTight, Prey or any other tracking system guarantees recovery of your stolen laptop. I say one of them is worth having because they work as advertised and cost nothing. Your Thoughts?
Note: Originally published earlier. Updated to reflect various changes.
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