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Track stolen notebook computer

Posted on 2007-04-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
My laptop was stolen 2 days ago, it was a Dell Latitude D510. I've already notified the authorities and Dell about this. I don't know if they would be too keen to pursue this but I've very important documents and financial info on it so is there any way to track it through a MAC address, IP address, or a windows XP serial number? My ISp says they communicate to the cable modem and so can't directly track my laptop. Is it true or was it just one uninformed customer service rep? BTW I didn't have any of those tracking softwares like LoJack or Computrack on my laptop.... I wish I had.

Please let me know different ways to track and people I should approach. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks! Ashish
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Question by:jangidap
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Lee W, MVP earned 375 total points
ID: 18832252
More than likely, it's gone.

Had you gotten a service like CompuTrace BEFORE you lost it, then you'd have a good chance at getting it back.
http://www.absolute.com/markets/homeoffice.asp

The MAC address can be changed - further, who is to say whoever stole it will use the same service as you or won't turn around immediately and sell it on e-bay?  Tracing it by MAC is not reliable and generally not possible - the cable modem and/or Router the device is behind is the mac address that will be shown to remote systems... There's a chance, but you'd have to get a LOT of different companies willing to look for it and unless you're the FBI, it's probably not going to happen - and even then, you'd have to get lucky that they DIRECTLY connected it to a broadband line and didn't go through a home router.

The IP Address changes... there's no reliable way this could be used.  Unless it was a static address - and even then, they would have to live near you AND use the same service you do for internet or the IP wouldn't work and they'd have to change it.

The Windows Serial Number is not traceable... Microsoft doesn't track that kind of information.
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by:jangidap
ID: 18832356
Well... thanks for the elaborate answer leew..... I just want to give it my best shot.... one more idea.... I had my Match.com username passowrd saved on it... if by any chance that site is accessed... can Match track the location. I know its a long shot and might be a stupid one but still. This is what they say in there privacy policy.

"Your IP Address

Like most e-commerce Websites, each time you visit the Site, we automatically collect your IP address and the web page from which you came. In order to administer and optimize the Site for you and to diagnose problems with our Site, we use your IP address to help identify you and to gather broad demographic information about you
"
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Author Comment

by:jangidap
ID: 18832363
Sorry... I meant their website in my comment above.
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by:qz8dsw
qz8dsw earned 125 total points
ID: 18832852
Long shot, but if you know the Dell service tag you could notify Dell themselves is case anyone put's it in for servicing.
Was it still under wuarantee?

Just accessing the site Match would not be able to figure out it's your laptop, but if they used your account, then yes Match might be able to help. In saying that Match.com would need the police to request things like IP addresses accessing an account.
From the IP you can get an ISP, and from the ISP, you can get an account and contact details. (All needing police requesting it)
But if the thieves are stupid enough to try that, then they are getting into identity theft. (Mind you they are stupid enough to steal in the first place)

Everythings a long shot as it stands now, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Tell match the story and ask them if they can notify you by e-mail if your account is used.

Terry
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