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A few months ago we wrote about a free application that was able to track stolen computers, and today we’ve got an open source alternative for you. It’s called Adeona, and it’s interesting how it works. After setting it up you’ll be given a file that is used to identify your computer in the event it gets stolen or lost. It’s recommended that you put that file in a secure location, or email it to yourself.

Once you lose your computer you’ll be able to call up the Adeona Recovery application, give it the file you stashed away in a safe place, and it will try to remotely fetch pertinent information from your stolen computer. The information you’ll be able to retrieve includes:

  • Internal IP address – This is your Internet location as reported by the operating system.
  • External IP address – This is your Internet location obtained by asking a web server like checkip.dyndns.org.
  • Nearby routers – These are network routers obtained by doing a traceroute to randomly selected PlanetLab computers. Usually, the names of network routers you are using can give a clue about your geographical location.
  • Access point – This is the name of the wireless hotspot you are connected to, can also give a clue about your location. Note that the Windows version simply reads a registry key that might contain stale information or no information on the current access point (for example, if one is not using the Windows-provided wireless management tools.)
  • Photos (Macs only) – The location-finding component takes a picture using isightcapture before sending an update to OpenDHT. If a thief was using the laptop, you could get a photo of them.

There’s no saying as to whether this would actually help in the retrieval of your computer, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. Here’s a guide that will help you when setting up Adeona, and another guide that explains the retrieval process.

Get Adeona for Windows, Mac, or Linux