How to Protect Your Laptop and the Data It Holds

Although laptop computers are rightly celebrated, along with the internet, for saving time, money and effort in conducting our social and business lives, complacency about their vulnerability often leads to trouble. Everyday a number of people need to seek help from New Jersey computer repair specialists following laptop damage. In the rest of the United States and around the world too, hundreds of laptop users fall victim to complacency, when the device holding valuable personal information gets, damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen.

This fact takes nothing away from the usefulness of portable computers. It should simply serve as a reminder to take measures for protecting your laptop against mishaps and misdeeds. To help you avoid the need for laptop computer repair, data recovery and filing of crime reports, here are some practical tips to keep your laptop, as well as your personal data safe.

Protection Against Knocks and Falls

Always keep your laptop in a strong padded case or bag when you are traveling with it. This will reduce the risk of your computer being accidentally dropped. If you should drop your bag, the padding will protect your laptop from the shock of the impact. A dropped laptop can incur serious damage, making it impossible to access your files and documents without expensive data recovery techniques. New Jersey data recovery professionals often find themselves working on hard drives damaged as a result of dropped laptops.

Back Up Your Files Before Traveling

If you are going away from home, it’s a good idea to make copies of any important files on your laptop. If the worst should happen and your laptop gets damaged, lost or stolen while you are away, at least you won’t have lost your data for good.

Lock up Your Laptop

Many laptops include a handy piece of engineering called a lock slot. This is designed to work with the computer equivalent of a bicycle lock. For around $50 you can purchase a sturdy metal cable with a locking mechanism. When you have to leave your laptop unattended for any length of time, you can chain it to something immovable or heavy. Laptops tend to be an easy target for thieves, but with one of these locks, a thief would be lucky to steal your laptop without seriously damaging it. Even thieves aren’t generally interested in damaged goods.

Password Protection

There are many different kinds of thieves out there though. Some of them aren’t interested in stealing your laptop. They merely want your personal data which they know they will probably find on it. The first line of defense against data theft is your Windows or Mac password. Always secure your computer with a password and make sure it’s not an obvious one.

Configure your computer so it needs the password entering to get it out of screensaver, hibernation or sleep modes. Make your password as long as possible and include upper and lower case letters as well as some numbers. You will probably be able to remember even a long password after a while but, if you do have to write it down, keep the written password somewhere other than in your laptop bag.

Don’t Advertise Your Laptop to Thieves

When you are out of the office or home with your laptop, do what you can to avoid letting potential thieves know you have a valuable laptop ripe for the picking. If you must leave your laptop unattended in a hotel room or other building, close blinds, lock doors and if possible, hide your laptop away in a cupboard. If you have to leave your computer in a vehicle, even for a very short time, put it somewhere out of sight. In public places, never ask someone to mind your laptop for you.

Encrypt Your Hard Drive Data

As further protection against data theft, you can use hard drive encryption to make your data files impossible to read for anyone without the encryption key. This will not only protect you from a sneaky thief with a USB stick, but also from anyone hacking into your computer over the internet. If you don’t want to encrypt your entire drive, at least consider using encryption for your most important and sensitive files.

Engrave or Mark Your Laptop

The chances of getting a stolen laptop back are pretty slim. You can increase the chances slightly though by fitting an asset tag to it or by engraving your name and contact information somewhere on the computer casing. You could even just write your name and details inside the battery compartment or somewhere similar. If your laptop should be stolen and sold on, at least there’s a slim chance that the buyer will have a conscience and try to get your laptop back to you.

Record Your Laptop’s Identity

As well as marking your laptop with your identity, you should record and keep some important information about your laptop’s identity too. Take a note of your laptop serial and model numbers and keep them somewhere separate from the computer itself. If you still have the receipt from your laptop purchase, keep that safe somewhere too. If your computer should get stolen, this information will be helpful in reporting the theft and proving the laptop is yours if it should be recovered.

Layer Your Laptop Protection

If you follow all of the tips above, you will be providing your laptop with a number of layers of protection. Additionally you will be protecting it against all the most likely causes of data loss. If despite these measures you are unlucky enough to have your laptop stolen, all you can do is hope it’s recovered by the authorities. If you should suffer data loss as a result of damage, there is a good chance of a data recovery service getting it back for you.

Dave’s Computers is a laptop computer repair and data recovery service provider in Hillsborough, NJ. If you are unfortunate enough to lose data while in New Jersey, Dave’s Computers will act quickly to recover it for you. For swift and professional data recovery, give the team a call on 908-428-9558.
by David Molnar

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