LoJack for Laptops

I just purchased a three year subscription to LoJack for Laptops from Amazon.com.

What is LoJack for Laptops?

LoJack for Laptops is software that is installed on your Mac or PC behind the scenes and can report in to Computrace LoJack it’s location most of the time if your PC is stolen.

According to LoJack for Laptops their service works like this: if your computer is stolen:

1. You file a police report and notify our Recovery Team.

2. When your stolen computer contacts our Monitoring Center, it is placed on high-alert and starts calling us every 15 minutes, allowing our Recovery Team to closely track your computer’s location.

3. Our Recovery Team provides law enforcement with tracking information and documentation essential for procuring search warrants and leading them to the location of your computer.

4. The police recover your computer and return it to you!

The company claims to recover 3 out of 4 stolen computers that use their service. The company says that their software is tamperproof and still stays on your computer even if the drive is reformatted or a new OS is installed.

So why did I pay $90 to better protect my laptop?

Well for a couple of reasons.

First off I’ve had laptops stolen in the past. It really sucks. A lot of times what sucks even worse than the laptop theft are the files that are stolen with a laptop. Even more than this though is the sense of victimization that you feel when someone has stolen something from you. The satisfaction of knowing that someone who stole from me was caught and hopefully pays a legal price is probably worth more to me than even the value of the laptop itself.

Oftentimes someone who steals a laptop is likely involved in other crime and so it would also make me feel good if they caught them and other people got their stolen property back too.

Also I’m out and about quite a bit with my laptop. One of my main uses for my laptop is to offload photos that I take from my CF cards to the laptop’s hard drive. For this reason my laptop goes with me in my photo backpack every single day. Frequently I worry about walking around with so much expensive gear on me. Not only do I keep my laptop with me everywhere, but I keep my Canon 5D and 4 L Series lenses with me everywhere I go as well. There is a good chance that if someone stole my backpack and I could track the laptop that I might also be able to recover my camera, lenses, batteries and CF cards if they were stolen with it too.

I had my first Canon 5D stolen in the Bahamas two years ago and that really sucked too.

Chances are of course that your laptop will not be stolen. LoJack cites pretty high statistics though. They say 1/10 laptops are lost or stolen and 97% are never recovered. I think if you ask around you probably already know someone who has had one stolen before. For me, the cost of $30 per year for a little extra piece of mind is well worth it.

Thanks, by the way, to Martin Taylor who tipped me off to LoJack for Laptops. I found out about this service when I posted a note on FriendFeed saying I’d pay $200 for a chip to track my laptop with GPS and he brought this service to my attention.

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11 Comments

  1. Gary Denness says:

    It sounds like a sound purchase to me. I can relate to how it feels to have something stolen – I was relieved of my iPod Touch at gunpoint a couple of weeks ago. Would I pay $90 to see the ******* locked up? You bet. I’d pay more for that than I would getting my iPod back.

    What cheeses me off about the iPod, is that the facility is already there. When you plug an iPod into a new computer you have to use iTunes, which reads the serial number. If there’s a net connection, and there usually is, it’s surely not too hard for Apple and the ISP to work out the IP address and home address of the new ‘owner’. But Apple aren’t interested in getting involved. Dumb privacy laws I imagine. Now if the RIAA or MPAA were knocking out these MPs’s….

  2. TranceMist says:

    I am really skeptical of their claims that the software will remain functional even if the hard drive is re-formatted.

    Anyway, from what you write, I have two suggestions for you.

    1. Buy more 8GB CF cards and don’t carry your laptop so much if it’s just to offload photos. (cards are cheap)

    2. Use SuperDuper! to make backups of your MacBook Pro by cloning the disk to an external one. Thus if your laptop is stolen, you won’t lose much data.

    The latter point is really important.

    I have two WD MyBook FireWire disks I use as a backup for my MacPro. SuperDuper! clones! my! main! disk! to one periodically, while the other stays in the vault at the bank.

    Then I rotate the backup in the vault with the one on my desk monthly.

    (all my 12 years of photos are backed up in Aperture vaults on these disks)

    I do the same thing for my MacBook Pro and my daughters’ MacBooks. One more external FW disk sliced up into partitions to backup those three laptops.

    We’ve already used it twice when each of their MacBooks needed service and had to be restored.

  3. stuart says:

    I’d like to know how the software keeps working after the hard drive has been reformatted or the OS reinstalled? I looked on their site and I couldn’t see them make any claims that this is possible. The only way I can think of that would make this possible, is if they installed a bit of hardware in your laptop that had it’s own internet connection, with a GPS.

  4. bugs says:

    Hi there,

    Have you considered undercover from http://www.orbicule.com before buying that software (this is the one I am using).

    just asking because i never heard of your software before and am wondering if one is better than the other.

  5. Ken says:

    Also take a look at GadgetTrak

    http://www.gadgettrak.com

    They have theft recovery software for laptops, as well as mobile phones, iPods, digital cameras and more.

  6. charm says:

    The fact that LoJack’s “System requirements” are Windows XP/Vista and an Internet connection with IE6 or newer speaks volumes about this software.

    What’s to prevent a thief from removing the hard drive, or overwriting the hard drive with Linux.

    Having worked with quite a few computers I’ve encountered hardware lojack-type solutions in desktop systems and once you removed the card, the system returns to normal (i.e. able to change the BIOS, etc.).

    What this software does do is prevent the thief who’s desperate for a quick buck.

    I think you would have been better off with a hardware solution, but this software *is* an okay partial solution.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s not just on the hard drive under the operating system.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The funny thing is this software can easily be disabled in the registry where even the auto repair mode will not work. Anyone with any decent software and technical knowledge can disable the service to never start or repair itself.

  9. Anonymous says:

    LoJack resides in a portion of the Bios, you flash the bios and it’s gone. And embedded GPS chip with a radio transmitter in the motherboard could be a better solution, but you now , now pops privacy issues and all the stuff…

  10. isimo says:

    LoJack resides in a portion of the Bios, you flash the bios and it’s gone. And embedded GPS chip with a radio transmitter in the motherboard could be a better solution, but you now , now pops privacy issues and all the stuff…

  11. Anonymous says:

    I gotta say, I hate when companies post comments pretending to be a consumer.

    This item keeps switching between, “I just purchased…” to sound like a poster, but keeps falling into, “contact us,” or “our team” later on.