Like backups, this is one of those insurance-type precautions you may have never thought of but should consider installing if you own a laptop. Here is a basic comparison of some options currently available (sorted alphabetically).

EXO5

  • $495 for 3 years and up to 25 devices
  • Geared for businesses
  • Remote data wipe and remote locking
  • Location by WiFi
  • Webcam support

Front Door Software

  • Free for Basic and $30 for 3 years for Deluxe
  • Remote locking
  • Location by WiFi
  • Webcam support

GadgetTrack

  • $20 per year
  • Location by WiFi
  • Webcam support

LoJack by Absolute Software

  • $40 per year for Standard and $60 per year for Premium
  • Remote data wipe and remote locking
  • Location by WiFi

MyLaptopGPS

  • $10 per month
  • Remote data wipe

MyLaptopTracker by My Device Tracker

  • $30
  • Remote data wipe and remote locking
  • Location by WiFi
  • Webcam support

Prey, an Open Source project

  • Free
  • Remote data wipe and remote locking
  • Location by WiFi
  • Webcam support

I would recommend trying Prey for free or else LoJack as it is very simple to use.

 

 

51 Comments
  1. I have to Prey is definitely a great option, I have it myself and it’s pretty easy to use plus you can’t really beat free in terms of price. The other option I’m not seeing mentioned here at all is for MacBook’s you can use iCloud to track the laptop the same way you do with “Find my iPhone” for an iPhone. It does give you the ability to track as well as remote lock and wipe, really the only feature it’s missing is a webcam feature, plus it’s free.

  2. Oh my. And I thought I was prepared with my iCloud Find my device application. I did not even know that such packages were available to protect your data and devices. Guess I don’t have anything digital that is worth much. At least, Blackstar knows about find my iPhone. I think most people with Apple use it, it’s is a lifesaver.

    • This feature of apple devices are one of the major factors that is why i chose it over android for my work files. Although I know that there are other apps like this as well for Android, I have heard much more success stories with find my phone. We even have one person in our country to track the thieves location when the phone was taken from her as well as her other stuff.

  3. One of my previous employers was using one of these services, and when one of our laptops was stolen out of an employees car they were able to locate it before the thief could sell it at a pawn shop. They actually busted him in the pawn shop.

    • That’s great that they were able to catch the thief, and in such a dramatic fashion…like something out of a crime drama! Case in point of why we must prepare for these contingencies.

      I appreciate this list. There are so many options available. I did not know about Prey. I am going to check it out. It’s amazing that such a service would be free. Like remote backup — which I have had for years — it is extremely valuable, and worth paying for, as needed.

    • Wow sounds effective, this is a good enough review for a sale. I was already thinking how beneficial it would be to have this service, would it be worth the monthly or yearly fee but I realize base on this information here it is truly worth the payment.

  4. MacKeeper has a tracking tool too. You’ll have to register it in a website. If your Mac gets stolen, you’ll have to login to your account and report it. Once your laptop is opened by the thief it will automatically take a picture and email it to the website. It will also give the location of the thief and his IP address so the police can check his name and address from the thief’s internet provider. I haven’t tried it yet but I am seriously contemplating on it. I shall also check out the stuff you have here. I don’t need the other features f the MacKeeper anyway.

  5. I never needed any of those, but since I might be switching to a laptop pretty soon (I’m still using a trusty old desktop) I might look into this some more.

    could you elaborate what the differences are between the free basic version and the deluxe packet of Front Door software?

    Prey sounds like a good program, but does anyone has any experience with pray when their laptop got stolen?

  6. Oh this can be quite helpful for my work laptop. I had a friend once that got robbed and the robbers took everything. But the robber (for some reason) tried to log into his email which was on a private server. This meant that he could use that information to get to the robber before he sold all his computers and other valuables. But something like this could definitely be useful if your not lucky enough to have a private email server.

  7. You know, I can’t believe I don’t already have one of these on my Macbook. Obviously, getting it stolen would not be a very happy day for me. I don’t exactly live in the best area, so I need to take precautions.

    Thanks for the link to Prey. I support open source projects and Prey looks like a very polished and streamlined solution to my problem.

  8. I’ll need this when I move to the city. Robbers there have been pretty persistent and consistent with breaking in small places and getting tech gadgets. Bonus points on Prey for being free -and- open-sourced.

  9. I’ve never thought of installing software like that, because like many people, laptop theft is not something I ever expect will happen to me. I guess ignorance is not bliss, in this situation. Maybe I should think about boosting my security with one of these programmes. I’m not sure I would pay for it though, seeing as some of the free options you listed seem like good alternatives, like Prey and Front Door Software Basic.

  10. I think i’m going to try prey since it is open source. This article is great since there i’m getting a new laptop and will have to take it to college with me.

  11. I just noticed that I can put Prey on all my devices! I’ve got an Android phone and an Ubuntu machine which can both run Prey. Even if I add another device, whether it’s an iOS or Windows device, I can protect it with Prey.

  12. I have tried Prey and even though is is free, it still packs a punch. I definitely recommend it if you are skeptical to buy other software like I was. I only wish I knew about these programs a year ago when my laptop was stolen.

  13. What about for Mac. I use hidden, lucky I haven’t had to use it yet but it seems to do what it says.

  14. What about for Mac. I use hidden, lucky I haven’t had to put it into action but it seems to do what it says.

  15. I’ve been using Prey for a while. It’s definitely a good option for those who’re not willing to part with their money.

    I’ve not had the misfortune of having my laptop stolen, still I’m pretty confident that even if it does happen I’m in safe hands.

    • Can you tell me what device you’re using it on? I’m thinking of using it on my phone and Google Play reviews kind of scare me. Someone had a problem that caused their phone to factory reset and another one had a virus scare.

  16. Very nice, I will be going to university in September and I will be buying a laptop very soon. This looks like a very good thing to have so I will be definitely installing one of those programs, I will probably be going with Prey because I’m on a rather tight budget.

  17. I have not personally used any of this software, however I have heard Prey being very well recommended from multiple clients. One thing to note though, is that any wise thief will keep the machine offline until they have had a chance to steal the data (if that is their intention), otherwise they will simply wipe the drive and be good as new.

    • Fortunately for me, most thieves are stupid (from experience, at least). Some people even get caught by using stolen phones and then uploading their own pics. No wonder they got caught easily. Still, it’s better to be safe and sorry. Installing Prey on all of our mobile devices now.

  18. I will use Prey on my current laptop since I never knew that it was free. I always read about stories about people finding their laptop or other devices but it seems that they use these tracking software to achieve those things. At least I have some reassurance when I go outside with my laptop even though I won’t leave it alone at most times.

  19. Prey is fantastic! One of my friends who had their laptops stolen had Prey installed on it. He eventually recovered it and convinced me to install it as well. So far, I haven’t lost my own laptop so I haven’t tested out it’s capabilities but it’s nice to have that reassuring feeling that if something does go bad, at least you’ll be able to recover it.

  20. Neat software. Since I have an expensive laptop, I will have to look into getting one of these software. A lot of the single use ones are not that bad, so that is interesting.

  21. as anyone that had an issue with a laptop really used any of these techs? I’m always wondering if they’re actually gonna be useful if the time comes, iOS / android have a similar option called something like ‘be able to locate your iphone by gps’ but if you ask me that’s almost impossible because if the phone / laptop is turned off, or is left outside a network, how in the world are you going to locate it? I mean, if I stole a laptop, first thing I would do is wipe the hell out of it, and keep it away from any internet connectivity.

    • Good point. Prey at least autogets a WiFi connection when possible. Aside from that, we’re counting more into the fact that most thieves can be technologically-challenged. Anyway, if the thief takes the same precautions you suggested, we can still count on the chance that they might make a mistake. If all else fails, at least your sensitive information will be protected.

    • I’ve always wondered the same. I was wondering if having Find My iPhone or whatever would actually worked if my iPod or something was stolen since it would probably turned off or they just wouldn’t be connected to WiFi. Unless the thief is not that tech-savvy, then I guess it would work.

  22. I honestly didn’t even know about all these options available to protect my laptop with. As of now, I only have some basic premium security, but after reading this post I’m definitely going to consider investing is some top notch security for my laptop and it’s content.

  23. This is rather funny – or sad, depends how you look at it. I recently bought a Tablet and the first thing I did was switching on the Antivirus and the tracking program. But I have laptop for so many years and never even thought of it – and I move my laptop a lot, when I travel between town, when I bring it ti university for projects.
    So thanks for bringing this out for me. I will def look those programs up. I will probably check the free ones first, I see the last program on the list is even reccomended. I hope I will never have to see it in action tho!

  24. On the other hand it’s another software that tracks you all the time. And with the revealed actions of secret services we all know what can happen with these tracking datas. I wouldn’t use that.

    • I’m actually more wary of bigger organizations doing that kind of thing. I’m guessing smaller businesses that provide security through mobile-tracking have thought against it since that might just alienate their smaller market. As for Prey, they’ve answered that on their FAQ.

      “Will Prey spy on me?

      No sire. As long as you don’t send the activation signal to your PC or phone, Prey will calmly sleep without doing a thing. And when you do, it will only gather the information you request and send it to your inbox or Control Panel account (depending on the chosen reporting method). No information is gathered without your consent.”

  25. I heard about anti-theft apps for iPhones a few months ago, I don’t know which came first bit I think these are great programs and I support any efforts against theft. I’ll checking out Prey for my laptop right now.

  26. Honestly, I believe that these Anti-Theft apps and programs are not as useful as they may seem.Paying almost 500 dollars to cover only one computer is outrageous. I have never cared for these programs as thieves can still anonymously steal a laptop by simply never booting up Windows and perform a clean install. With the assistance of a USB file explorer he or she could even infiltrate personal data. Would it really be worth the $500? However in the list of programs I would really like to look more into the open source project which seems like a risk-free wall of defense.

    • Good points. I was not aware of those risks and vulnerabilities which would not be addressed by these anti-theft systems. The sophisticated thieves, like hackers, will always be on the cutting edge and they are a challenge to evade.

      The general consensus and positive feedback here on Prey is quite encouraging. I think it’s well worth saving the $500 which ironically could buy a descent new laptop, although we would like to spend it for that purpose when the time is right, not in the aftermath of a calamity!

      • $500 is a lot to pay but like you point out, that is the cost of a new laptop so I am sort of torn on the issue. I would like to find some protection that is cheaper than $500. I think it is especially worth the money if you have a laptop that is in the upper end of the price range, like $800-$3,000.

  27. I will agree that having tracking software is a good idea. My co worker had his car stolen just last week and it was found thanks to device-tracking software he had in his phone. They got to the police station, he logged into his account for the software and they pinpointed it and got the car back within a couple hours.

  28. I will consider using Prey, and if I feel I need to upgrade my protection I will refer back to your post here, and look at the different options I have to protect my computer and gadgets. You can never be to careful now a days when it comes to your electronics.

  29. Thanks for the comparison! I’m about to invest in a new laptop, and this is definitely the best list I’ve found. Webcam support isn’t something I would have immediately thought of, but it seems like a must-have to me now. Front Door Software seems to provide a lot of the general features at a great price, but I’m not quite certain about the lack of data-wipe.

  30. I highly recommend laptop tracking software. They are so easy to steal. I’ve had two laptops stolen over the past 15 years. One of them was in 2000 and I had paid over three thousand dollars for the unit. That was way back in the day when laptops were incredibly costly. There was no laptop tracking software back then, either. So, be thankful that the technology exists today and use it!

  31. Actually I’ve been looking for software like these for quite a time and I have always found it necessary to have an ace up the sleeve in case of losing the laptop. Thanks you gave me quite the solution. Nice article.

  32. I have used Frontdoor software before and even though I never lost or had my laptop stolen, it seemed like it had a really good set of features. I’m actually quite thankful I never had to use it..

    • Nice to see another free and easy to use laptop security software. I’ll go check for more info about it. Although I don’t know how useful the yelling feature, lol. That would be funny to hear, a laptop screaming for help.

  33. We all say that it will never happen to us but you can never be sure it won’t. Prey seems to be the logical, first option, unless you are a serious company that needs better protection. You never know when a former employee will try to run off with some laptops or when someone breaks your car (like OhioTom76 pointed out).

    For a company EXO5 seems to be the best option money and protection wise.

  34. Thanks for this series of laptop tracking software for us to get into a comparative analysis, David! I recall a friend of mine had her Mac stolen, and it was because she left it out in the open inside her car for someone to steal it. Now she doesn’t even know where it could be, and she could have saved a lot time and money by investing into software such as the collection above.

    This is why people have to be considerate of their products, and how people are desperate to steal to find quick money. If people combined one of these software, and applied common sense into hiding their personal belongings, they won’t have to worry about investing another $500-$1000 for a high-end laptop.

  35. I have a laptop but I don’t carry it around usually, nor do I have many visitors who would steal it. However, college is starting soon and I might need to carry my laptop. I am a student and free is the best price for me, hence the open-source Prey is the one I’ll be looking at. Thanks for the tip, looks like it is time for me to install a tracking software after all. I’ll be reading some Prey reviews to see how it is.

  36. Other than the data wipe you can’t really do much with this. Laptop’s are fairly easy to steal because it’s easy to hack apart and possible replace things inside to avoid any proof that it belonged to you.

  37. Can’t forget Prey, it’s helped countless people find their phones, computers, whatever for the low price of free. For a small fee you can get some pretty cool extra features too, and if you carry around expensive things then it’s probably worth buying into. Either way these are some good options. Nice article.

  38. I thankfully have never had my laptop stolen. I’ve also never heard of anyone using any of these programs successfully. Why aren’t they more popular? I guess people are hesitant about purchasing the security…or perhaps they have their laptops insured. I think getting a tracker is a good use of money–going to look into it today.

  39. These programs would be awesome if they could take pictures with the webcam stealthily. Most webcams have an LED that lights up whenever the webcam is in use, and that’d be a dead giveaway of a person having tracking software on it. Also, a lot of these can’t survive system wipes, and a thief who’d just want to get rid of the laptop ASAP would probably wipe it. However, if a thief was smart enough, they’d probably just keep the computer disconnected from internet altogether, and try and mine data offline.

  40. I was unaware of this software. Guess I been living under a rock for the past decade. This software is definitely needed as laptops are always a target of theft. A high in demand product like this should come with the tracking software built in.

Leave a Reply