Some laptops come with a built-in anti-theft solution within the BIOS so it's still locatable if the thief wipes or replaces the hard drive. But if yours doesn't support this you can still install an anti-theft application. Lojack for Laptops is one option, and it works on both Mac OS X and Windows. Prey and GadgetTrak are other services worth considering.
Perform PC security checks
You should periodically perform a through security check of your PC. Antivirus is a must-have, but it doesn't detect all vulnerabilities. It doesn't always check for missing security updates for Windows, and for vulnerable applications like Abode Reader and Flash, Java, and your Web browser. And they usually don't analyze your passwords to detect weak ones. See our previous story, Beyond antivirus software: Eclectic PC security tools for system-wide audits, for what you can do to tighten your PC's security.
Encrypt your laptop
A Windows password prevents the average Joe from booting up your computer and accessing your files and personal documents, but it can easily be removed or bypassed. A thief or snooper could remove the hard drive, connect it to another computer, and access your files that way. Or they could use a special CD to remove your Windows password and then be able to log into your Windows account.
Since a laptop can be easily lost or stolen, it's a good idea to encrypt your entire hard drive, which prevents someone from removing or bypassing your password. Check out our tutorial to learn how to go about it.
Encrypt your USB drives