How to delete files from a stolen PC

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Judit Llordes
@juditllordes
Author and references

Third party tools

Interested in understeing how to delete files from a stolen PC? Then take a look at the specific programs and services listed below, I'm sure they will satisfy you.


Prey (Windows/Mac/Linux)

The first among the useful third-party resources to be able to delete files from a stolen PC that I want to tell you about is Prey. It is a free basic service compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux (as well as with all the most popular mobile platforms, but in this specific case it shouldn't be relevant to you) that allows you to geolocate your computer at intervals of regular time and through detailed reports that are sent by email.



It also allows you to remotely delete data if your computer is lost (but you need to subscribe to a paid plan that also unlocks other additional features).

You ask me how to use it? I'll point it out to you right away. First, connect to the service's website and click on the button Get Prey Now which is in the center. On the next page, press the button Get it for free to start downloading the free version of the service, then press the download button that you find corresponding to the name of your operating system.

Then wait a few moments for the download procedure to be started and completed, then double-click on the .exe file obtained and click on Next, Then I Agree, its install and Finish. If you are asked during the installation procedure if you intend to download Microsoft's .NET Framework, please agree to it. It is practically essential for the correct use of Prey.



Now proceed to configure the operation of the program by pressing on OK, its Next, by typing your name, your e-mail address and the password you want to associate with the account you are about to create, checking the boxes below and then pressing on Sign up. Then press on OK.

If you are using a Mac, open the downloaded .pkg file and always click on Continue until you have completed all the setup, then follow the short wizard that is proposed on the screen to configure the use of the service and create your account.


Now you are finally ready to take advantage of Prey. To do this, connect from any computer and any web browser to the website of the service as seen above and log in to your previously created account by clicking on the button Log In at the top and typing your access data in the fields on the screen On the page that will subsequently be shown to you, you will see your computer icon on the left. Click on it and you will be able to know its position on the map.


Now, by clicking on the button Set device to missing which is on the left, the service will begin to send you reports via email every 25 minutes with the status of the device, its geographical position and if possible also with an attached photo taken from the computer webcam. By pressing the buttons on the right instead you can make your computer emit an alarm sound (Sound alarm), display a message on the screen of the latter (send message) or you can lock the device remotely (Lock device).

As for the possibility of deleting all the data on the computer, you can do it by pressing the button Wipe data which is always on the right. In the window that will subsequently appear you will then have to indicate which data, precisely, you intend to delete, you will have to type your password and you will have to choose to switch to a paid plan by clicking on the appropriate item at the bottom.

If then before deleting the files on your computer you want to recover them by going to download them on another computer, click on the button Retrieve files that you always find on the right. Even in this case, however, it is necessary to switch to a paid plan otherwise the function cannot be used.


LockitTight (Windows)

As an alternative to the above tool you can rely on LockitTight. Although a little more lacking in terms of functions than Prey, it is a tool usable on Windows (as well as Android, iOS and Chrome) that allows you to geolocate your PC in case it has been stolen or lost. Basically it is free but to take advantage of all the functions without limitations you have to pay.

It also allows the computer to issue alarms, send complete and encrypted reports and perform various other remote operations such as viewing the Web pages visited by the computer. Note that it does not properly delete the data on the PC but integrates a function that offers the possibility of restarting the device remotely so if the user account in use is protected by a password, the data on the disk should be inaccessible (except Particular "machinations").

To use it, connect to the service's website and click on the item Download which is at the top right and then presses the button Windows to immediately download the program installation file to your computer. When the download is complete, open the .exe file obtained and click on Next and I Agree. Type in the appropriate field the email address you want to use to use the service and the associated password, then press on install and Finish.

Now, log in to your newly created account on the service by going, from any other computer and any Web browser, to the main page of the latter, pressing on the item Log in at the top and filling in the fields on the screen with your previously chosen login data. Then type your username in the field Name and click on Update User.

Once this is done, click on the item Devices which is at the top and you will immediately be shown your computer on the map. Click on the relevant placeholder and you can take various actions relating to the device, using the buttons on the left: you can keep track of the web pages visited (Browser), you can view the captured screenshots (screens), images captured with the webcam (Camera), you can see what was typed on the keyboard (Keyboard) and items copied to the Windows clipboard (clipboard).

If, on the other he, you want to restart your PC remotely in such a way as to then block it on the login screen and make the data saved on it inaccessible to any unauthorized third parties, click on the button Settings that you always find on the left, scroll down the displayed page and press the button Restart Device.

If you are interested in this, I finally point out that, again from the same page of the service settings, you can choose to receive a specific report when the computer is online, whether to block access to specific sites and much more.

"Steard" functions

If, on the other he, you prefer to avoid resorting to the use of third-party tools and would therefore like to underste how to delete files from a stolen PC using the features already included in Windows and Mac, read the instructions on what to do that you find below.

On Windows

Do you have a PC with Windows 10? If so, you can take advantage of Find my device, the anti-theft feature offered by Microsoft itself for its computers and devices. Haven't you ever heard of it? No problem, I can explain everything to you. This is a special feature made agolable by the same Redmond company for all those who use a Microsoft account (in this regard, if you don't already have one I suggest you read my post on how to create a Microsoft account to fix it) thanks to which, as anticipated and as easily understood from the same name, it is possible to geolocalize Windows PCs and Windows Mobile smartphones on a map and undertake various remote actions.

As far as computers are concerned, data cannot be deleted remotely but it is possible to block the device thus making it impossible for attackers to use it.

You ask me how to serve? I'll point it out to you right away. First, make sure you've linked your Microsoft account to your computer by clicking on the icon Settings (Quella with l 'gear) in Start menu of Windows 10 and then on the voice Account in the window that appears on the desktop. Make sure, therefore, that on the right side of the displayed screen there are the data relating to your account and to your person and that there is no local account in use. If not, fix it immediately by logging in by clicking on the appropriate button.

When your Microsoft account is linked on Windows 10, Find My Device is enabled by default. However, if in the past you have mistakenly disabled it or in any case you want to make sure of this, go back to the main Windows 10 settings screen, click on Update and security, then on the wording Find my device which is on the left and check that next to the item Find my device: on the right there is the inscription Qualified. If not, click on Modification and carries his ON il relative interruttore.

Once the service has been configured correctly, you can locate your PC on the map from any other computer simply by connecting to the page dedicated to the Microsoft account management, by logging in to your account by filling in the fields on the screen and then clicking on the item Find my device next to your computer name on the new screen that appears.

On the Web page that will subsequently open, you can view the location of your computer directly on the map. Pressing on the button Block at the top right you can instead block it remotely, so as to make it unusable by any malicious people. Then confirm what your intentions are by pressing the button NEXT, typing the message you want to appear on the locked computer screen e, finally, press on Block.

Your mac

Do you own a Mac? In this case you can use the named service Find my Mac which, to the detriment of the name it bears, can be exploited not only in conjunction with Apple-breed computers but also with all the other devices of the company (whose name varies according to the device). In case you have never heard of it, it is the anti-theft service provided by the same company of the "bitten apple" and specifically designed for its devices.

It is based on iCloud, it's totally free, to use it you need an Apple ID (in this regard, if you don't already have one, I invite you to read my guide on how to create an Apple ID to find out how to create your own) e, similarly to what has been seen together in the previous lines for the other resources, it allows you to geolocate the computer on the map and perform various other actions remotely, including deleting the data present on it.

To use it for your purpose, the first move you need to make is to log in with your Apple ID on the target Mac (in case you haven't already done so, of course). To do this, click on the icon System preference (Quella with l 'gear) that you find on Dock bar, Then iCloud and log in to your account. After logging in, then make sure that the box next to the item Find my Mac on the right it is checked (e if not, you can do it yourself).

Once you have completed the preliminary steps above, you can locate your Mac at any time and delete the data on it. To do this, connect to the home page of iCloud.com using any web browser, connected to your Apple ID by filling in the fields on the screen e, on the page that will subsequently be shown to you, click on Find iPhone.

Then wait a few moments for the geolocation of your Mac (e any other device connected to the same Apple ID) to be carried out, then press the wording All devices which stes at the top and selects your Mac from the menu that appears. Once this is done, you will be able to view the location of the latter on the map.

Using the pop-up menu on the right you can instead initialize the Mac remotely and therefore delete all the data on it simply by pressing the button Initialize the Mac. The other agolable buttons instead allow you to make your Mac emit a sound to easily locate it in case it is nearby (Make it ring) and to lock it remotely (Block).



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