How to Protect Your Laptop

A laptop's portability makes it convenient--and an easy target for thieves.

Losing your laptop can be devastating, especially if you keep important documents and files on its hard drive, without a backup. Here are five ways to protect your laptop from being stolen (or from remaining stolen), as well as to safeguard the data you store on it.

Physically locking your laptop to an immovable object isn't exactly the coolest thing you can do, but it works. Just about every laptop on the market is equipped with a that works with laptop locks such as the ($45) or the ($50).

These laptop locks work just as bicycle chain locks do: You find a large, immovable object, such as your desk, and wrap the metal cable around it. Insert the lock into your laptop's lock slot, and your computer becomes , assuming that the thief cares about keeping it in working condition. This isn't a viable solution for many places--you're unlikely to find a lot of immovable furniture in a coffee shop, for instance--but it is useful if you need to leave your laptop alone for any amount of time (say, in a hotel room).