Locate A Stolen Computer With The Cloud

Locate A Stolen Computer With The CloudOne of the problems of all of our newfangled portable devices is that they are very easy to misplace or steal.  How many times have you accidentally left your phone or laptop somewhere?  It’s even worse with iPads and Android tablets.  Just last week I heard over an airport PA that someone left a laptop at the TSA security area.  These things are so small and light we forget about them if we’re not using them.

Since I use so many devices, I use Dropbox to sync files between them.  They have apps for my MacBook, my PC, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices.  But Dropbox also has a great feature to help you locate your device.  Whenever you turn on the device, the application syncs to Dropbox and records the last IP address of the device.

Launch the web version of Dropbox and go to the Account page; the link is at the top of the login page.  Click on My Computers and you will notice all of your devices.  Hover over the i under version and voila, there’s the IP address.

Locate stolen device

So you have the IP address.  Big deal.  Well, now you can to another program and find out where it is.  Go to and type in the IP address of the device you want to find.  The results look like this.

Geo locate stolen device

The last IP address says this device is in Berwyn, PA.  There are lots of geo locator tools online that will let you map an IP address to a physical location.  They won’t pinpoint your location within 100 yards, but they are fairly reasonable; you need spy satellites for that one.  I find that different tools have different levels of accuracy.

Here are a few more you can try.  See which gets closest to your location.

Now that you know where your device is, you may be able to recover it.  Of course this isn’t perfect, since someone may have wiped your system or dismantled it for parts.  If you just misplaced it, this should help you.  It won’t tell you that you left it in your car, but at least you know the general location.

If you don’t care so much about your device, at least your data is safe in Dropbox.  The cloud saves the day again.

What are you favorite tools to find a lost of stolen device?


Photo credit Tom (hmm a rosa tint)

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