The Retriever: Software that lets laptops call out for help when stolen

The Retriever: Software that lets laptops call out for help when stolen

A software company has developed a computer program that allows laptops to cry out for help if they have been stolen.

Front Door Software Corp.’s Retriever program allows users to display alerts on the missing computer’s screen and even to set a spoken message.

Although tracking software for stolen laptops has been on the market for some time, this is understood to be the first that allows owners to activate recorded messages.

Owners must report their laptop missing by logging on to a website. During start-up, a big yellow-and-red banner appears on the screen, boldly declaring the laptop lost or stolen. Messages can be set to reappear at 30-second intervals, no matter how many times the thief closes the window.

The Retriever also collects information if the stolen laptop is being used to access the internet. The software will gather data on the internet service provider in use and nearby wi-fi access points, so that the police can be alerted to its location.

The software, which costs $29.95, has been designed to work with Microsoft Windows XP and Vista and a version for Mac users is underway.

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