Windows 10 Tip: Find A Lost Laptop

Windows 10 Find My Device

A new feature quietly appeared in the Windows 10 November update: you can have your laptop send its location every few hours to Microsoft. If your laptop is lost or stolen, you can view the last location where it was online. Android phones, iPhones, and Macs have had this ability for years so Microsoft is playing catch up, but it’s still a welcome addition.

“Find My Device” is not activated by default, and it only works if you log into your computer with a Microsoft account. If so, then toggle the switch to turn it on. At the moment all you can do is look at the laptop’s last online location on a map – you can’t have it make a sound, or lock itself, or erase data, for example – but knowing the general location of your laptop might be valuable if you’re not sure whether you left it at home or at your last stop. Microsoft may well add some of those extra features in the future.

Windows 10 - Settings / Update & security

This tip is only for Windows 10 with the November update. Go to Settings / Update and Security / Find My Device. Click on Change and toggle the switch to start saving your device’s location periodically.

Windows 10 - Find My Device

If your laptop is lost or stolen, go to https://account.microsoft.com/devices. Log in with the Microsoft account used on the missing device. Choose the device and click on Find My Device to display a map with the last online location.

Windows 10 - Find My Device map

This option is only available on devices that have a WiFi adapter, so you may not see it on your desktop computer. And remember, the map only displays the last location where the laptop was online, so you won’t be able to track a stolen laptop that isn’t turned on or never goes online again. Still, it’s a handy bit of protection for the new laptop you’re getting for Xmas. Oops! I spoiled the surprise. Be careful out there!