Skip Navigation

InnoTech Reviews relies on readers. We may earn commissions when you purchase through our links. Check Affiliate Disclosure

Can a laptop be tracked after factory reset?

Have you ever been curious to know if the personal data on your laptop can be tracked after you have performed a factory reset?

With the increase in cyber-attacks and identity thefts, it is important to understand how vulnerable our devices really are.

In this guide, I will address whether a laptop can still be traced back to its original owner after they’ve wiped out all of their content via a factory reset.

I’ll discuss the possibility of tracking through software trails, hardware identification numbers, subpoenas from law enforcement agencies, and more so that you can make an informed decision about what steps should be taken when wiping your device clean.

So keep reading to find out more.

Can a laptop be tracked after factory reset?

If you’re worried about losing your laptop or having it stolen, you may be wondering if there’s any way to track it down after a factory reset.

The short answer is that Yes, it’s difficult, but not impossible. When you perform a factory reset, all of your personal settings and data are wiped clean and the laptop is essentially restored to its original state.

This means that any tracking software or apps you may have had installed on the device will also be erased.

However, there are still a few ways that someone could potentially track your laptop after a factory reset.

How to track a laptop after factory reset?

Losing your laptop and not being able to track it can be a stressful experience, but there are ways to increase your chances of finding it. By following these steps, you can help protect yourself as much as possible in the event of a factory reset:

Using a Tracking Software

One way to track your laptop after a factory reset is by installing a tracking software on your device beforehand.

There are several free and paid tracking software available in the market, including Prey, Find My Device, and LoJack.

These programs allow you to track your device remotely by providing you its location, IP address, and even taking screenshots of the person using it.

Once your laptop connects to the internet after a factory reset, these programs will start tracking it.

Contacting the Manufacturer

If you can’t install tracking software or didn’t have any software installed on your device before the factory reset, you can contact your laptop manufacturer for help.

Most laptops have a unique serial number or an electronic product code (EPC) that manufacturers can use to track the device.

You’ll need to provide the manufacturer with your laptop’s serial number and a copy of the police report, and they may be able to help you recover your lost laptop.

Checking Your Google Account

If you are an Android user, you can check your Google account’s security settings to see any activity on your device.

If your laptop is connected to your Google account, you can check its recent activity, including the last time it was used, the IP address it was last connected to, and the time zone.

If you see any suspicious activity, you can report it to Google, who may be able to help you track your device.

Contacting Law Enforcement

Finally, if you’re having trouble finding your laptop, you should contact the police.

File a report and provide them with as much information as you can, including your laptop’s serial number, a description of its appearance, and any tracking software you might have installed.

If your laptop has GPS enabled and is connected to the internet, the police may be able to track it and help you recover your device.

Does a factory reset completely wipe a laptop?

Yes, a factory reset can effectively wipe out all your personal data and settings from a laptop.

When you perform a factory reset, the system will delete all data stored on your device, including user accounts, files, apps, programs, photos, music, videos, and other information.

However, it is important to note that while a factory reset will delete your data, there is still a chance that some information may be recovered by a professional service.

This is why it is essential to take extra precautions when wiping your laptop clean and always use secure methods of data destruction such as disk encryption, hard drive shredding, or degaussing.

By doing so, you can ensure that your data remains secure and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals.


After all is said and done, it’s important to remember that while factory resetting your laptop may help you get rid of any data you don’t want to keep around, the device can still be tracked.

This is thanks in part to its unique set of characteristics which make it distinguishable from other computers or laptops.

With this in mind, it’s crucial for users to stay vigilant and ensure that their sensitive data is not put at risk by inadvertently leaving behind a physical trail on an unsecured device.

Taking the necessary steps, including wiping external drives, de-authorizing every account connected to the device, and installing reputable antivirus and malware software should go a long way in keeping personal information secure.

A laptop may have undergone a factory reset but that doesn’t mean its anonymity extends much further than that offered by the software programs installed on it after hitting fresh start – negligence can reveal more than what was intended!