The Power of Mac

The Best Way to Prevent Laptop Theft

Eric Schwarz - 2001.08.02

Need a laptop but don't want it to get stolen? Here's the solution.

All of us have heard horror stories of people getting their brand new laptops stolen, even when they have the special security locks and cables or security software. What can you do to prevent laptop theft?

Use for an older PowerBook. Most older, less colorfully-cased PowerBooks can be bought for a lot less than a brand new PowerBook or iBook. Most people don't need the newest 'Books, even if they think they do. Most people use computers in general for the following tasks:

  • Web browsing
  • email
  • word processing
  • other business software
  • digital music (CDs or MP3s)
  • graphics
  • a backup computer

You generally don't need a new iBook or PowerBook G3/G4 to do these tasks. In fact, a 5300 or 1400 would work fine. With enough RAM, these will run Mac OS 9.1, so you can use the latest non-OS X software.

What does this have to do with laptop theft? Well, there is proof that newer laptops (especially expensive 'Books) are stolen more often, so just get an older PowerBook (the older the better) and use that. "Uglifying" the PowerBooks helps, too. As many people know, the 500 series had a really easy-to-break plastic piece below the screen bezel, so I used duct tape to hold it in place. It's perfectly usable, but it makes the laptop look more like a piece of junk to the average thief.

But the best thing is to never let the computer out of your sight. And if you have to go somewhere, just take it with you. LEM

Correction: In my last article, I stated that most of the early Power Macs ran System 7.5.2. After correction from Daniel Decker and some further investigation, I learned that the 8100/110 shipped with System 7.5, not 7.5.2. System 7.5.2 was a special version that only ran on a limited number of Power Macs.

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