Planning to work as a digital nomad on a holiday? Don’t head out without learning these effective tips on how to remote wipe laptop data for your Windows PC. If you thought your valuable data was safe with a touch ID or face-recognition software, all a thief has to do is insert your laptop hard drive in another system.
However, with a little bit of planning, you can be ahead of the game. By taking these simple precautions, you can remote wipe your hard disk and make your Windows laptop pretty much useless for any burglar out there.
Currently Available Options in Windows
First, if you are using Windows 10, you must locate your laptop’s GPS coordinates using the Windows key with the “Find my Device” option. This technique will not work with previous Windows versions. You will notice a tiny “Bitlocker OFF” icon right below your device.
Next, simply turn BitLocker ON to encrypt sensitive files, folders and even entire disks. The procedure takes a bit to get used to, but you’ll be assured with the knowledge that your files are now secure with AES-128 encryption. The encrypted folders can now only be viewed with a password or a recovery key.
However, such a useful functionality comes with a caveat: it is not available for Windows 10 Home, Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 systems. Unless you upgrade to Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, Microsoft doesn’t have your back.
Remote Wipe Laptop Data with Prey Anti-Theft
Prey, a freemium laptop, smartphone and electronic device-monitoring solution, manages to recreate the functionalities and technical strength of the above solutions.
After downloading and a guided installation, you will be asked to set up your Prey account as a new user. You may also log in with your Facebook or Google accounts.
It soon leads to a Web dashboard. Apart from Windows, Prey also supports Linux systems and MacBooks. You can choose a pricing plan that suits you.
Tracking your device location with Prey works more efficiently than Windows’ “Find my Device” option. The utility uses Geo IP, Wi-Fi triangulation and GPS to access your lost or missing laptop.
After you track your device, you can choose to “wipe” all data including documents, cookies, emails, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive information.
Not all missing laptop incidents can be pinned to theft. If you simply forgot your laptop at a friend’s place, there is another option to remotely “lock your device.”
Tips for Recovery: You can also report your device as “missing.” This means that as soon as a thief opens your laptop, you will start receiving evidence reports, pictures, coordinates, and active and nearby Wi-Fi.
It is always useful to set up a guest account so that the thief can use your laptop to access the Internet. Once done, you can use Prey to send them warning messages along with a police complaint.
However, if you lose your laptop in a foreign country, your only option is to make data backup in Cloud. Use DropBox, Google Drive or OneDrive.
Remote Wipe Laptop Data with DriveStrike
DriveStrike is another relatively lesser-known web utility that offers the same remote wiping facilities as Prey. Their monthly plans are substantially cheaper. It is also much easier to use.
Laptop thefts are way more common than you may imagine. Be it at airports, malls, vehicles, cafes, hotel lobbies, or backpacker hostels, you may luck out almost anywhere. It can be the most unpleasant thought ever, some quick-fingered thief deciding to pick you clean just when you let your guard down.
With the tips discussed in this blog, you may not have to worry about a lost or stolen laptop again.