How to Track a Stolen PC using Prey

Prey is an anti-theft tracking program that allows you to track a stolen PC and locate, lock, erase and recover it if it is stolen or lost.  You can do this by logging in to a web platform where you can also run actions like sounding an alarm or showing a message on the screen to let the thief know you are chasing him.  Prey uses a remote activation system which means that the program is sitting silently on your computer until you really want to run it.  If so, it collects all the information and sends it to the Prey web dashboard or directly to your mailbox.

The hardest part when it comes to losing a laptop is when all your important data is unrecoverable or worse, it falls on the wrong hands, thus making you and your company vulnerable to potential lawsuits and loss of profits.  If purchasing these services seems expensive, try some free codecs, they may not be the best but at least keep your data safe for a certain period of time.

How to track a stolen PC using Prey
How to track a stolen PC using Prey

How to track a stolen PC using Prey

All it takes is one distraction, and your device (and all your data) can disappear. Windows 10 for mobile devices includes a new, easy-to-use security feature that allows you to track your lost device and see its location on the map, but this is a limitation of its capabilities and is not available for desktop computers.

This is where Prey comes in.  Once installed on your device, it plays invisibly in the background until you remotely start it.  You can then activate an alarm on the device, see its location, display a message on its screen and even lock it.

 Install and set up a Prey Anti-theft Solution

  1. Download and install Prey. It works on all leading operating systems including portable operating systems like Android.
  2. After installation is complete, you need to configure its settings.
  3. You will find out if you are running it for the first time and ask you to prepare a reporting method. Click OK.
  4. The Prey Configurator window opens to help you prepare the reporting method and other things.
  5. It gives you the choice between Prey + Control Panel or Standalone Prey. Their web control panel is elegant, so I recommend that you go with that.
  6. You will need to sign up with them and enter your login credentials.
  7. Finally, we will remember that the device was set up and tracked.

You can visit and log in with your details.  You should find your device listed there.  Click on the image of the device or its name to check options.

There are a number of settings, all of which are well shown when you hover your mouse pointer over the question mark next to each, which helps Prey track and locate the stolen computer.

As you can see below, it starts with Missing ?, which is what you have to do and click Save Changes when your laptop is missing (I hope you never have to use this option).  There is also a frequency of reports that indicates the time intervals between successive reports.

If you scroll down on that page, you’ll find two columns: the information to collect and the actions to take.  Within the implementation procedures, you can set the alarm, wake up, lock the computer, or even delete data remotely.  The tool can collect information such as the location, nearby Wi-Fi hotspots, etc.

There are more settings that can be found if you click on the settings in the top navigation bar of that page.   Finally, if you want to set up automatic Wi-Fi connection through Prey, you will have to visit Prey Configurator again (installed on your computer), then click Prey Settings Manager and check the automatic WiFi connection.

How to Track a Stolen PC using Prey

Currently, in version 0.3.3, Prey Tracker is running in the background operations of the notebook.  It “wakes up” at a specified interval, connects to the internet (if the laptop is not already connected to the Internet, Prey tries to connect to the closest open Wi-Fi access point) and checks for a specific web address to find out what I have been ordered to do.  If the aforementioned address does not issue a command to your laptop (such as telling your computer that it is considered stolen), Prey will return to sleep and wake up again at the next time interval.

If your laptop is stolen, you can use another computer to log in to the Prey website, mark the laptop as missing, and follow your intended system location through a control panel – assuming the thief takes your laptop online or software  Manages to connect to a Wi-Fi access point.

Control stolen Laptop Across the Web

Interacting with a stolen notebook works in one of two ways in Prey: in standalone mode, you receive messages from your notebook by email, but setting up remote controls can be stressful.  Most people will want to use the service in a second way, via the web control panel on Prey.  Setup is easier than the standalone mode and makes it easy to track and control your laptop remotely.  This review focuses on the second method.

The control panel features toggle settings that allow you to set up and run individual remote operations.  All this is presented in a simple to use interface.

With this palette, you can mark your notebook as missing.  Then, if your notebook can “home phone”, you can tell him to send you a report detailing the IP address it is calling, order it to take a screenshot of the desktop, and if the notebook has a built-in webcam, take a screenshot to take a picture  The person using the computer.  You can even send an instant message to the suspect to tell him that you are watching him.

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