Laptop tracking software vs. hardware: Everything you Need to Know

For a long time laptop tracking software has no doubt been the go to choice for anyone seeking to protect their laptop and data from theft. However this is not the only option.

What you ought to know is that there are two main laptop tracking options that you want to weigh:

1. Laptop tracking software

2. Laptop tracking hardware


Laptop tracking software

What it is?

This is basically a tracking software that you install in your laptop. Its main goal is to transmit GPS coordinates on its location. Some laptop tracking software are simply installed on your hard drive. Other advanced software such as Lojack is installed in the BIOS instead of the hard drive.


How it works

Once installed a laptop tracking software sends reports to the monitoring center “the software company” or a pre-defined email address (your email address). Some software are also set to make calls to the monitoring center.

For all this to happen, the laptop has to have been:

i. Switched on

ii. Connected to the internet

These two are some serious obstacles

Two of the most popular softwares include: Lojack and Prey


My Concerns on laptop tracking software

1. You have to wait until your laptop is powered on to for location data to be sent

The time spent waiting could be the difference between life and death for your laptop and data. If you discover your laptop is lost within 5 minutes, the culprit is obviously not far away from you.  He/she has obviously turned off the laptop because of the more pressing concern of getting away safely.

Now for you to trace him/her you then have to wait long enough for them to get away and get comfortable enough to turn it on.


2. Laptop tracking software only works when the laptop is connected to the internet.

Most software only send information to you or the monitoring center only when they are connected to the internet. So if the thief chooses not to turn on the WiFi your chances of getting any information are zero, null and void.


3. Software that are only installed on the hard drive can be easily wiped out

Any thief stealing your laptop knows the first safety measure is to format it. This wipes out all the software, including the tracking software you had just installed.


4. Softwares installed on the BIOS can also be wiped too

What if the tracking software is installed in the BIOS instead of the hard drive? Well you might have a chance of recovery. Unless they wipe out the BIOS too. A quick tutorial on how to wipe out the BIOS is all they have to look for or a tech geek who wipes out the BIOS for a living.


5. Most laptops have no true GPS sensors.

If the software is able to transmit location, accuracy is going to be an issue. This is because Most laptops lack GPS chips. So the location sent will normally be IP based. IP based location are normally generalized to almost a city wide area. Besides even if it was pinpoint accurate, how do you figure out which building and or floor the laptop is on in that area?


6.Paperwork, bureaucracy and unreliability of the support infrastructure.

If your laptop location information is sent to the software company it may take months or even years to go through a long paperwork process to recover your laptop.

In the case where all the information generated by the tracking software is sent to the software company monitoring center, then you have absolutely no control. You will have to rely on their process no matter how long it takes. Law enforcement incompetence to help in the cyber world is also a major challenge as they lack the recovery tools and skills necessary to help you.

I don’t know about you but in my country such an operation would take at least 1 year. The procedures, company and law enforcement paper work is just useless. The precious time wasted makes a life and death difference for the recovery of my stolen laptop.


Needless to say once laptop tracking software overcomes the two obstacles (power and access to the internet) then their future is quite promising.

Now what about laptop tracking hardware?


laptop tracking hardware

What it is?

Laptop tracking hardware is a chip (some are big some are small) that is wired into the circuit of your laptop’s internals. Its main goal is also to send GPS coordinates on its location. It works more like the spy bug you see in science fiction movies, only that this one is real. Most laptop tracking hardware like the Matrix blackbox are reinforced with additional features such as WiFi, sensors and voice listening features.


How it works

Once wired into the laptop’s hardware, the tracker sends accurate GPS coordinates on the whereabouts of its location to the user. Additional information sent includes a 24hr report log and all WiFi names (SSID) within its vicinity.


Using your phone you simply text the tracker predefined commands and the tracker replies with all this information directly in your email, text inbox, your own online monitoring portal as well as the company’s monitoring center. Therefore no special apps are needed to communicate with this kind of tracker.  Hardware trackers for laptops allow you to track, monitor and recover your laptop by yourself without relying on third parties such as the law enforcement and tracking companies.

Currently, the only laptop tracking hardware available with these advanced features is the Matrix blackbox.


So what is my choice?

From experience in real case laptop theft scenarios (I being a former victim obviously) a laptop tracking hardware like the Matrix blackbox is the best option.



1. It has a timing advantage

Should I discover within 5-10 minutes that my laptop is stolen, I do not have to wait until the thief gets away to be able to power on the laptop so that it can send me any information whatsoever regarding its whereabouts. The Matrix Blackbox has its own power system that does not rely on the laptop’s power for functionality.

In the case of sending information which relies on the internet, the blackbox has its own WiFi system which I can simply activate via a text command from my phone. The blackbox is always automatically connected to the internet using mobile data and sends me reports directly to my email, text inbox and online portal even if the laptop is off.

Remember the 5 minute advantage? The thief won’t make it past 2 blocks.  And even if he does I can easily find him.


2. It cannot be wiped out with formating and bios reset

The blackbox is an independent device. It does not run on the laptop’s OS like all softwares do. Therefore even if the thief wipes out the OS he/she will not have touched the blackbox.


3. I am in control

The fact that the blackbox sends me all the reports directly means that I am in control. I do not have to fill out any paper work that give me the authority to track my own laptop. Besides since the loss is mine I am more motived to find it, and am equipped with all the toos necessary to hunt and get it back.


4. It’s efficient and affordable.

No need to worry about paper work, law enforcement help, high premiums for renewals of monthly charges, high data rates, limited options etc With the Matrix Blackbox you are self-reliant, self-aware, pick your own mobile plan rate  from available global mobile providers, No expirations on SMS and email platforms, with super advanced features that will zero down tracking on small assets such as laptops with pinpoint accuracy.

After weighing these two laptop tracking options what would you go for? A laptop tracking software or a laptop tracking hardware?

Should you choose a laptop tracking hardware you can find it here.





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Telephone / Call / Text / whatsapp

+254 72536 1287 / +254 78052 3807

Open From : 0500hrs – 1700hrs (GMT)


Office HQ @ Ground Floor Suite 2,

Mabuli House Muhoho Avenue, Nairobi

P. O. Box 1122 – 00511 Ongata Rongai,