How to Erase Laptop and Smart Phone Data Remotely


Absolute Computrace

Mac OS X, Windows

Absolute Software’s Computrace family of laptop recovery applications allow users and IT staff to remotely wipe Macs (OS X 10.3 or higher) and PCs (Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7). Computrace Data Protection (starting at $34.99 per year) is the corporate version, which includes remote wipe and other asset management tools. When the Computrace Agent is embedded in the notebook’s BIOS (and you have an active subscription), it utilizes Intel’s anti-theft vPro security technology to locate a missing computer and shut it off. Even better, because of the daily check by the Computrace Agent at Absolute’s headquarters, the software reinstalls itself even after a system restore, hard drive reformat, or hard drive replacement. Here’s how to set it up.

① Log in to your Customer Center account (

② Mouse over Data Management in the left-hand column, and click Data Delete.

③ Input the model number of the computer that you’d like to wipe clean.

④ Select the number of times that you’d like the data to be overwritten with 1s and 0s to make it unreadable. You can select 1, 3, or 7 times, but the higher the number, the longer the process takes. We recommend using 7 wipes, which provides the most thorough data deletion.

⑤ You’ll be taken to a screen that prompts you to enter your username and password.

⑥ Read and consent to the user service agreement. Click Delete Data to erase data remotely.

Absolute LoJack for Laptops

Mac OS X, Windows

LoJack for Laptops is the consumer version of Computrace that offers data deletion only with the $59.99-per-year premium plan. There are three data deletion options from which to choose: Identity Protection (deletes cached browser passwords, cookies, and other files that can be used to steal your identity); Data Protection (deletes files that are likely to contain personal information, plus all files in common user folders such as My Documents); and System Protection (deletes all files except the operating System). Note: System Protection is the only option available for Mac OS X.

① Log into Absolute’s website ( to report your laptop as lost or stolen.

② Enter the requested information, and click Data Delete.

③ Select the type of data to delete.

④ When the Lojack for Laptop software next connects to the monitoring center, Data Delete will erase and overwrite all of your files.

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