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Can a Laptop be Tracked After Factory Reset? - FULL GUIDE

Dave Miller with Online Cloud Security

Dave Miller – Tech Enthusiast & Security Expert – October 9th, 2022

can a laptop be tracked after factory reset

Any device may get lost or stolen, and laptops are no exception; So, if you’re concerned about this and searching for information about can a laptop be tracked after factory reset, you’ve come to the correct place. There are several methods to accomplish so, but the primary issue is that the thief would almost certainly reset the device right away, if not a less-skilled one, so you cannot track your device back.

Before I give you any vague advice, let me just say that if something has already got taken and the criminal has wiped everything, there are very few choices left. However, if this is not the case right now, but you want to make it safer going forward, this article is for you.

Keep reading this article to learn about your choices in advance to cope with any potential dangers of losing your laptop.

Can a Laptop be Tracked After Factory Reset? - FULL GUIDE

Enabling Location Services on Your Devices

Since I’ve already made the answer for, can a laptop be tracked after factory reset very clear. So, if someone has reset your device, there is nothing you can do to get it back. It is until it gets recovered by police enforcement. 

However, you may prepare the location services in advance to immediately find it again, even if you lose it, because the question of how often does cybercrime happen gets asked too often because it happens so much! So learn to protect your online security with these tips below:

Anti-Theft Software – Works Even After Factory Reset

Google sharing user data to governments for tracking down criminals

A program called Computrace, which often gets included in BIOS, enables you to sign up for a service that will trace your laptop if it ever gets stolen. LoJack is now the familiar name for it. Whether you utilize it or not, activating or disabling it shouldn’t cause any harm. 

To yet, Computrace Lojack appears to be your best option for recovering your laptop. Many people use this tracking program to retrieve stolen property. The good news is that it gets included in the firmware of numerous laptops made by Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba.

Moreover, security or system performance is unaffected by Computrace. Clients of the computrace service can ask for the deletion of private information from a machine that got reported stolen. Only computers with a current police report can use this service. Not accessible on Mac computers at the moment.

It is simple to enable this software if your laptop already has it incorporated into the firmware. But if not, you may choose from a variety of third-party providers. You must install it before the laptop gets lost to keep track of it, even if the burglar wipes the operating system. So, it makes the answer to can a laptop be tracked after factory reset a resounding yes.

Bonus Tip: Checking if your laptop already contains Computrace software is pretty simple. Launch the task manager and search for rpcnet.exe under the service tab. If it’s present, you can enable it right away.

Below are some options you can choose if you don’t have the built-in computrace.

PreyProject for All Devices

With ten years of expertise safeguarding multi-OS phones and laptops, PREY offers PreyProject, a device monitoring, and proactive anti-theft application. Install Prey on all your phones, computers, and tablets, and it provides a single sign-up app that the same account can use and enable the possibility for can a laptop be tracked after factory reset. Prey’s monitoring is active and ongoing by default, and it unifies all devices and operating systems under a single platform. On-demand or active tracking options can get enabled by changing this in the panel’s Settings tab.

They presently have +8,959,495 Protected Devices with global coverage and +7,777,340 Active Users. Pricing gets provided when you request a quotation, and as it includes several features, you may read more about them at the link below.

CDW® Computrace LoJack for Laptops Standard

Customers may track fixed, remote, and mobile computer assets with Computrace Data Protection, which CWD offers. If the computer gets stolen, lost, or reaches the end of its useful life, it also provides a remote wipe option for sensitive data. Usually, an organization’s IT department is in charge of this kind of softwares, but the user can also manage it.

This theft recovery solution for laptops may be obtained for $82.99 for a three-year subscription license and gets covered by a money-back guarantee for the software.

Windows Location Service (If Factory Reset Has Not Done Yet)

We are familiar with how our smartphones’ location services operate, and PCs have incorporated some of their functions. Although computers lack an integrated GPS, cell phones do. But Microsoft has included a location services function that anticipates your location using IP addresses and Wi-Fi placement. When a device gets turned on for the first time, Windows 10 and 11 location service is default disabled unless the user chooses to activate it in the Privacy settings for the out-of-the-box experience.

The Windows location service allows you control over which programs get permitted to access your precise position. A lot of apps and services ask your device for location information. However, it isn’t as accurate as GPS. It only pertains to the Windows operating system if you want to use the location service. Location services are not permitted to be used by apps. Users may decide whether to permit applications to view their location.

Setting Up Windows Location Service

Therefore, you may choose whether to enable or disable the Find my device feature when configuring a new device. You can follow the instructions below to find your laptop if you have previously allowed it and have since misplaced it while it is using that service.

Step #1: Go to and sign in.

Step #2: Choose the Find My Device tab.

Step #3: Select the device you wish to locate and click Find to view a map displaying its location.

Enabling Windows Location Service

Make sure your Windows device is online, has enough battery life to broadcast its position, and gets logged in to your Microsoft account before turning it on if you haven’t already.

Step #1: Go to the device Settings > Update & Security > Find my device.

Step #2: Select Change for the device you want to change.

Limitations with Tracking Your Windows Laptop

The Windows 10 “locate my device” capability is currently not very robust. Triangulation via Wi-Fi or cellular networks allows for position monitoring; however, tracking may not be precise. It can only find your computer. It cannot lock or delete the data, which isn’t beneficial. Forget about it if you misplace your laptop and someone reset it. You will not be able to find it again.

Apple Location Service (If Factory Reset Has Not Done Yet)

Apple’s Find My app makes it easy to keep track of your Apple devices, which is incredibly useful and accurate. But you can only use Find My Mac to help secure your Mac if you set it up before it went lost. Follow the instructions below to do so.

Step #1: Open Find My App on any Apple device, sign in to, and click All Devices.

Step #2: To see your Mac’s location on a map, choose it.

If your Mac is nearby, you can also play a sound to help you find it.

Enabling Find My Mac Service

Setting Find my Mac is relatively straightforward; follow the below steps

Step #1: From the Apple menu to System Preferences, click Apple ID.

Step #2: Select iCloud from the sidebar after signing in with your Apple ID.

Step #3: To give Find My Mac permission to utilize your Mac’s location, select it and click Allow.

Ensure that you turned on Location Services and Found Mine in Security & Privacy preferences and the detail button.

Tips If Find My Mac Is Not Enabled

However, if you didn’t prepare it beforehand, you may use the following advice to assist in safeguarding your information.

  • If you want to help prevent unauthorized access, you may remotely lock your Mac with a passcode.

  • You can remotely wipe your lost Mac if you don’t think you can retrieve it. However, bear in mind that after you wipe your Mac, all of your data is removed from the device, and Find I won’t work to help you locate it.

Can a Laptop be Tracked after Factory Reset? - Bottom Line

A lost or stolen gadget, particularly your laptop, is a significant loss. You would lose the critical information you’ve gathered over the years; once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Even if you have a few alternatives, locating your laptop will only be possible if the OS has not been entirely erased and reset.

You should take care of it immediately by employing one of the above services to take precautions if you frequently misplace things like me. I would generally refrain from recommending professional services unless you deal with anything confidential. If you respond promptly, the locations services from Windows and Mac might be helpful and accessible.

But even though you plan to track down your laptop on your own, don’t forget to alert law enforcement authorities and ask them to take the matter up with them in case there is even a remote possibility of having it back.

If you’re having trouble with Norton pop-ups on Windows 11, we also have a guide here on how to stop it.

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Dave Miller with Online Cloud Security

Dave Miller

IT Consultant at Online Cloud Security

Dave Miller is an IT Consultant for Online Cloud Security and has over 7 years of experience in the Information Technology space. He also specializes in repairing laptops & computers. In his spare time, he loves to talk about new technologies and hosts monthly IT and Cyber Security meetings in the Houston area.

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About Online Cloud Security:

Online Cloud Security is here to recommend you the most secure devices, from laptops to smartphones, we only want to provide you with products that we have tested and used ourselves for online security. Every product that we recommend is heavily inspected and tested for security against hackers, viruses, malware, and any other intruders that may want to steal your information. 

Recent Posts:

Online Cloud Security Logo (500x500px)

About Online Cloud Security

Online Cloud Security is here to recommend you the most secure devices, from laptops to smartphones, we only want to provide you with products that we have tested and used ourselves for online security. Every product that we recommend is heavily inspected and tested for security against hackers, viruses, malware, and any other intruders that may want to steal your information. 

Recent Posts: