Track Down! It… Some Proper Security Softwares For Your Laptop (Part 1)

2/8/2013 10:31:45 AM

Don’t let a lost or stolen laptop ruin your life-not when there’s tracking software that can bail you out

Losing a laptop, whether by misplacing it or by theft, can be devastating. Not only is the financial loss tough to get over laptops aren’t cheap, after all - but the loss of personal files, documents, photos, and other data can be even more upsetting. It can also be potentially very dangerous, as any criminal who snatches your laptop could then have access to your email or online banking accounts, which combined with other personal data on your laptop could make you a prime target for identity theft.

Thanks to laptop security and tracking software, the fate of a stolen laptop needn’t be so dire. This month, we’ve rounded up eight programs intended to add an extra layer of security to your laptop should disaster strike. At the very least, they should allow you to remotely lock down your laptop and wipe sensitive data. In a best-case scenario, such software will allow you to track and retrieve your laptop and, if it’s been stolen, provide evidence to the police for a conviction.

Can the software we’ve rounded up deliver on these promises? Let’s investigate.


Biz package spies on, er, tracks many devices

EX05 is primarily geared toward small-to-medium businesses, but that shouldn’t put off home users-especially if you have a number of devices you want to keep track of.

EX05 uses geolocation to track your devices with a fair degree of accuracy.

EX05 uses geo-location to track your devices with a fair degree of accuracy.

A free 30-day trial lets you sample the goods before purchasing. After signing up for an account, you’ll head to the Settings tab of the Administrative Console and download the Agent Installer, a stand-alone.exe file that needs to be run on any device you want EX05 to track. Once done, you can view the devices be clicking the Assets tab.

When you select an asset to track you’ll be shown its location on Google Maps, using similar Wi-Fi triangulation technology as the other services we’ve tested here. In EX05’s case, it got the road right but was a few buildings off, while some of its competitors were more accurate. The public IP address is also displayed, along with whether the device is connected to Internet.

The Hardware/OS section lists your device’s hardware configuration, and isn’t much use unless you need to see if someone has swapped any of the pats in your laptop.

The Software tab offers more illuminating details of what programs have been installed on the laptop, while Event Log keeps you up to speed on what your laptop’s being used for, most of these features cater to an individual or company that wants to make sure the laptop is being used for its intended purposes.

Of most value is the incredibly handy RemoteKill option. This enables you to encrypt files and folders remote if the laptop is stolen. Presets such as “All MicrosoftOutlook.pst files” make it quick and easy to secure important info. You can also add a boot-sector lock to shut down the device and both can easily be reversed if the laptop is recovered.


RemoteKill file encryption, drive lock, curfew, geolocation, logs, data export, RiskSense alerts

Verdict EX05: 7

Price: $495/3 years on 25 devices


Frontdoor software

Protection that makes itself known

Frontdoor software is a laptop protection and tracking tool that, despite being free to download, comes with some of the features found in paid-for software.

Frontdoor software is a laptop protection and tracking tool

Frontdoor software is a laptop protection and tracking tool

While our evaluation is focused more on how well a program protects a laptop, and not on aesthetics, we still must point out the noticeable lack of user friendliness of FDS’s design, which makes relatively simple actions more complicated than they need to be. A case in point: The installation process includes a slightly bewildering SetLicense window with a number of buttons and text boxes and little to no description of what each one does. Spelling mistakes in the online instructions don’t inspire confidence either.

Once installed, our laptop had to be rebooted and afterward sported a FrontDoorSoftware window with a warning that the device was protected, alongside the usual Windows login screen. You can also send a custom message to the screen. However, that alerts thieves that they need to act fast to remove the software. Your contact information is also displayed in case the laptop is simply lost, so a good Samaritan can contact you to return it.

FrontDoorSoftware uses Wi-Fi positioning technology courtesy of Skyhook ( and the results were respectable, with the approximate location just 60 yards off. However, the software runs as a second-user account, so it has an impact on the system’s performance. You can remotely lock the device and mark it as stolen through a web interface, which can only be unlocked with a code.


Geolocation, stolen alert display, remote lockdoen, start-up audible prevention alert, custom text message

Verdict FrontDoorSoftware: 6

Price: Free (or $30/3-year license with unlimited location tracking),



Tracks with frequent reports and sly webshots

GadgetTrak protection involves downloading and installing the software onto your laptop and registering it with your GadgetTrak user account. You can log on to and use the control panel to enable tracking. You’ll get email reports every half hour, with various bits of information to help you locate a missing laptop.

Arguably the most useful part of the report is the Wi-Fi-based location section, which provides you with the latitude and longitude of your device’s location based on its Wi-Fi connection and the networks surrounding it. There’s also handy link to Google Maps with an icon indicating the approximate location of your device.

In our tests, the location information was a couple of buildings off of the actual location. While it’s not pinpoint-accurate enough to go and retrieve your laptop there and then – not that you should attempt to if’s been stolen – you’ll at least have an idea of its general vicinity.

Occasionally, the location would jump around a bit, pointing in roughly the same area but giving the impression the device was being moved about when it actually wasn’t. The report also includes a snapshot taken with the laptop’s webcam, and will hopefully catch the thief using the laptop at that moment. However, you can’t choose when to take snapshots and there’s option to change the frequency of the reports.

If you’re lucky, GadgetTrak will use your laptop’s webcam to snap a pic of the perpetrator.

If you’re lucky, GadgetTrak will use your laptop’s webcam to snap a pic of the perpetrator.

When turned off, the laptop can’t send tracking info, but as soon as it’s turned on you’ll a get a report. While GadgetTrak does not appear in the Windows Start menu or in the system tray, it can be seen in the Uninstall Programs window-though you need an admin password to remove it.


Wi-Fi positioning, webcam support, integrated police reports, online dashboard

Verdict GadgetTrak: 7

Price: $20/year


Most View
2013-Version Dell XPS 13 - Good Performance But Expensive Price (Part 1)
Fractal Design Core 3000 - Superb Chassis With Loads Of Fans
Windows Server 2003 : Administering Software Update Services (part 4) - The Automatic Updates Client
Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor
Adobe Photoshop Touch - Power At Your Fingertips (Part 1)
Sony Vaio Fit 15 - A Fast Laptop With A Good Quality, High-Resolution Screen
Linux vs Windows 8 (Part 2)
Lenovo Ideapad Z400 - Powerful Specifications For Mobile Entertainment (Part 2)
Edifier E30 Spinnaker - By The Horns
Porsche Cayenne Turbo Versus Mercedes ML63 AMG – Battle Of The Behemoths (Part 2)
Top 10
Extra-Curricular Activity - BMW 218d Active Tourer SE - An Engine That’s Fit For A Juke - Nissan Juke Tekna DIG-T (Part 2)
Extra-Curricular Activity - BMW 218d Active Tourer SE - An Engine That’s Fit For A Juke - Nissan Juke Tekna DIG-T (Part 1) - BMW 218d Active Tourer SE
Review : Garmin Fenix 2
Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor
Review : Leica V-Lux (Typ 114)
Review : Apple iPad Air 2
Review : Apple iMac with Retina 5K display
Review : Toshiba Satellite L50-B
Review : HP Stream 11
Review : Acer Chromebook 13