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If I have the MAC address and S/N of a Lenovo 3000 Laptop, is there some way for me to find exact street location of this laptop ? This machine was stolen from me last year and was my back up machine . Contained all my personal info prior to 2009, some of which I now desperately need. I believe I have the 2 exact street locations where it could be, and an email address for each location.

I would really appreciate any help or direction or referral you could give. I am non technical.

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If I have the MAC address and S/N of a Lenovo 3000 Laptop, is there some way for me to find exact street location of this laptop ?

No, there is not. You can get somewhat along the way if you pre-provision the system with software intended to "phone home" (the IP address will point to the ISP, and the ISP can determine which account was using that IP address at a specific time), but unless the perpetrator is specifically after your data, most likely among the first things they will do is possibly wipe the system clean, and then sell it to get some money. Or possibly just sell it. Alternatively, if they are after your data and have any reason to believe you have pre-provisioned the system with software intended to "phone home", they may simply remove the hard disk and use it in another system (which also completely bypasses operating system access controls).

MAC addresses are only used on the local network segment and are not routed, so never make it onto the Internet. The serial number might be accessible through some sort of remote administration software if you already know where and how to look, but it's not like the computer is likely to (should be) broadcasting that information across the Internet to anyone who merely asks.

The serial number will be useful for the police, since as pointed out by Brian Cain it allows them to identify the specific computer and the fact that it belongs to you, if it is found. Hence, if/when reporting a computer stolen, it is always good to identify it as uniquely as possible; the specific make, model and serial number will go a long way.

I believe I have the 2 exact street locations where it could be, and an email address for each location.

If you have this information, you should be giving it to the police. They will be able to make good use of it, if you can show that it is reasonably likely to be correct. Using it on your own to try to get your computer back may actually itself be illegal in certain locales.

Contained all my personal info prior to 2009, some of which I now desperately need.

Like I said above, the most likely thing that happened is probably that whoever took the laptop wiped it clean.

If you have a copy (backup) of the information that was on the laptop (which it sounds like since the stolen laptop was your "backup machine"), then restore the backup and use the information from there. If you don't have a backup from back then, at least start making backups now. Also, keep the backups physically separate from the computer itself, such that if one is able to steal the laptop they aren't also able to steal the backup.

Having a solid backup regimen in place will also protect your data from a number of other threats, not the least of which being disk crashes or user errors. Without having specific statistics, I believe it is safe to say that deleting the wrong file yourself is much more common than having your computer stolen.

  • Many computer makers and OS editors send back debugging information to their own internal servers. I witnessed (tcpdump) that this debugging information contain serial number, IMEI, MAC address, OS version, and some other hardware details. This information is hence available to computer makers and OS editors. (Practical case: Apple, MacOS X, iOS). – dan Aug 2 '15 at 1:10
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Having the Serial Number will is really your best set of information you have here. The Serial Number would allow police to Identify the hardware in the event that it is found.

The MAC Address is less useful. MAC Address are "likely" unique but this is not guaranteed, as MAC Addresses are self reported by the Software / Hardware sending the traffic. Depending on the technical level of the individual who stole the laptop it is possible that they could change the MAC address for all traffic going to / from the Machine, however this is unlikely as it wouldn't buy the attacker much.

Your best bet at getting your information back is to work with the Police. That is what they are trained to do and have the authority to recover the hardware.

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