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Can a laptop be tracked after factory reset?

Can a laptop be tracked after factory reset


In today’s article, we have discussed a common query of many users, i.e., can a laptop be tracked after a factory reset? To find out about it, read the article.  

Is your laptop stolen and you are trying to recover it by tracking it down? The chances are that the thief must have sold it into the black market and whoever got it would have performed a factory reset.

The main question that arises here is, can a laptop be tracked after a factory reset? There are several ways to track their laptop, for example, the built-in tracking systems, serial number, IP address, cloud connection, etc. 

This can be done when your laptop is unaltered and everything is the same as it was. But, if the laptop has been factory reset, the possibility of a laptop being tracked down is highly minimized. 

If you are curious to know can a laptop be tracked after factory reset? And if so, how can it be done? We urge you to read the guide till the end. 

How can a laptop be tracked after factory reset?

Surprisingly, there is one way through which a laptop can be tracked after a factory reset. This will happen only if you have enabled the feature of Computrace in the BIOS of your laptop. When enabled, the laptop will ‘ping home’ as soon as connected to the internet source.

But, if it was not enabled in your BIOS, unfortunately, you would not be able to find any luck in tracking a factory reset laptop.

What is Computrace?

Computrace, one of the most popular applications integrated into the firmware of a laptop (BIOS). The application was launched back in 2005 by absolute software and was initially called LoJack for Laptops. 

The application was designed with the sole purpose to track down the stolen or lost laptops along with a set of other impressive features that allowed the users to use this application to delete files from, remotely lock, and quickly locate their lost or stolen laptop. 

This anti-theft software works incredibly in finding your lost or stolen laptop. When it is enabled, in the event of your lost or stolen laptop, the application works to locate your device. As soon as it tracks the latest location of your laptop, it provides the local area police with all the valuable information that can help in getting the laptop back.

Unfortunately, not many users know this fantastic application; hence don’t enable it for safety purposes. Even if you have Computrace on your laptop, but it wasn’t enabled, there is no point in having it. 


How to enable Computrace on a laptop?

Following are the steps that you need to follow to ensure that Computrace is successfully enabled on your laptop and would work perfectly in case of an emergency.

  • Turn on your laptop.
  • As soon as your laptop’s logo appears, press the F2 key.
  • Scroll down using the keyboard and locate ‘Security’ then, click on it.
  • Now, click on ‘Computrace(R)’.
  • Once done, make sure that the ‘Activate’ sign is highlighted. 


Is Computrace compatible to work with Linux?

If you own a Linux PC, efficient working of Computrace could be a challenge for you. The main reason is that this built-in feature is invisible in Linux PCs; therefore, the users fail to interact with it. 

Moreover, the primary purpose of Computrace is to take over the computer entirely and perform the tasks that are impossible to be done by the Operating System. 

Considering the fact, some parts of Computrace do work on Linux PCs whereas, some fail drastically.  


Is it possible to replace my BIOS chips without removing Computrace?

Sometimes the BIOS chips have trouble performing well and do not stay flashable anymore. This is probably an indication that your chip requires an update. Since the Basic Input/Output System is a socketed PLCC or DIP chip, it needs to be handled carefully. 

Remove the existing chip with due care and either insert it after getting reprogrammed with the latest BIOS code version or use a completely new and fresh BIOS chip.

When it comes to the query of whether you can replace the BIOS chip of your laptop without removing the Computrace or not, the answer is Yes. You can easily replace the older version of your BIOS chip without disabling or removing the Computrace LoJack software.   

How to determine if I have Computrace on my laptop?

As we know, this built-in component for anti-theft security is not available on every model of laptop or computer; it is better to check it for yourself whether your device has it or not. To find it out, follow the steps:

  • Press the keys Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard.
  • You will see the Windows Task Manager.
  • On the manager, select the ‘Services’ tab.
  • A long list of services running on your laptop would appear here. 
  • Click ‘Name’ so that the services are alphabetized to make your search easier. 
  • Slowly scroll down the list and under the Name column, look for rpcnet.exe.
  • Once found, look for ‘Computrace’ written in the Description.

If you found the duplicate entry, it means that your laptop has Computrace installed and successfully running. However, if you fail to find it in the entire list, it ultimately means that there is no built-in Computrace software on your laptop or computer. 


How is Computrace disabled from BIOS?

Even though the addition of Computrace to your laptop is a massive kick in recovering it in case of a theft-trap or losing it. You must also know how to disable the software from your BIOS; the steps include:

  • Hold the Power button and turn off your laptop.
  • Restart the laptop and wait for the logo to appear.
  • As soon as you see it, press F2.
  • From here, select ‘Security.
  • You will see three options out of which you need to choose ‘Disable’.
  • Now, Press Enter.

Note: Once you have disabled the Computrace feature in your BIOS, you won’t be able to reactivate it. So, make sure to think carefully before making the choice. 

  • Save your new BIOS settings by pressing the F10 key; the computer will restart.


Can I remove Computrace from my BIOS?

If you wish to not only disable but remove the Computrace LoJack software entirely from your BIOS, let us tell you that it is possible as well. This can be done by following the steps:

  • Open the browser on your laptop.
  • Go to the Absolute Software official website.
  • Here, you will find a request to remove Computrace from your laptop.
  • Complete the request and select ‘Submit.’
  • You will receive a verification email by Absolute to confirm that this move is made intentionally by the owner itself.
  • Once you have verified the request, the company will remove the Computrace LoJack automatically from your BIOS.


Is wiping out Computrace an intelligent decision?

Computer theft is no more an uncommon incident in today’s fast-moving world. We encounter such cases of robberies every day where different kinds of assets are stolen from innocent people. 

When it comes to the stealing of a laptop, the incident itself is pretty traumatizing. First off, laptops are a hefty investment that everyone cannot easily purchase. In addition, these are loaded with a lot of personal information about the owner. 

The main concern after a laptop theft is the invasion into someone’s private space, which is why the owners try their best to recover their stolen device. For this purpose, there are numerous applications.

Computrace is one of those most widely trusted and used anti-theft security applications to help users locate their devices. The software however needs to be manually enabled beforehand. Anyone who wishes to disable the Computrace LoJack doesn’t seem to make the right choice.

Since this application is an impressive addition to the overall security of your laptop, why disable it? According to our recommendation, it won’t be a wise idea to wipe out Computrace permanently from your laptop. 

Ending lines

We never know when our luck can ditch us and fall into a theft trap; therefore, it is always better to stay one step ahead. In today’s world where losing your personal assets to a thief isn’t very surprising, we must be very careful and take all the precautionary measures beforehand. 

When a laptop is stolen, whoever uses it attempts to factory reset it as soon as possible since it closes every door to track the laptop. But, if you are aware of the anti-theft security application, i.e., Computrace, and have enabled it in your laptop’s BIOS, you can easily find out where your stolen laptop is. 

We hope that our guide was an excellent help for you that answered the most asked question, ‘can a laptop be tracked after factory reset?’ along with everything else that pops up in one’s mind.

This Article is Updated.

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Robert Smith

Robert Smith is a technology lover and loves to write about laptops, monitors, printers, tablets, Apple products and anything that's related to computers and games. He is passionate enough that he maintains this blog regarding tech updates on a daily basis.