Left your laptop on the train? We explain how to track it down
Losing a computer is bad enough from the cost point of view, but there's also the data to consider: someone finding (or stealing) your laptop could have access to all kinds of sensitive data, especially if it's a work laptop.
Fortunately, most of us use a password, a PIN or biometrics to log in to our laptops these days, but even so, losing a computer is at best tiresome and at worst an expensive disaster. The good news is that Windows comes with the ability to track devices, so once you've got that set up, you should be able to locate your lost laptop.
The tool periodically checks the location of your computer so that if it's gone AWOL, you can sign in to your Microsoft account on another device to see its last known location on a map.
Turn on Find My Device
First, make sure that the tracking facility is turned on: tap the Windows key and type in Find my device, then click on Find My Device in the results menu that pops up. If you want to go there manually, tap the Windows key, then tap on the Settings cogwheel icon in the left-hand vertical bar, then tap Update & Security, and then tap on Find My Device in the left-hand panel.
Then make sure the Find my device button is set to ON, or tap Change if it's not.
How to locate your laptop
If you've lost your laptop, log in to account.microsoft.com/devices using your Microsoft account (this is the account you use to log in to Windows and to services such as Skype and the Microsoft Store).
When you're logged in, you'll see a panel of devices that are connected to your Microsoft account. That will include mobile phones if you're using Office apps on them.
Click on the one you want to track down, and then click on Find my device on the next page. That will take you to a map that you can zoom in on for more detail.
For more options, click on the device at the top of the column next to the map. From there, you can refresh the map by clicking the Find button, or you can click the Lock button, which will block any unauthorised user from accessing it and will also turn on location tracking services in case they're turned off. You'll also be able to see how much battery life is left on your missing device.