What To Do If You Lose Your Laptop Computer - Onega Style

One of our clients recently had the misfortune to become separated from and lose his laptop computer while on a business trip to Sweden. This is the story of what happened and how we were able to help later reunite him with his laptop.

Anyone who travels on business will be aware that current rules and procedures for airport security require that, if you are travelling with a laptop computer in your hand luggage, then you must take it out of the bag and run it separately through the x-ray machine at the security station.

On this occasion Onega's client, Tim (who was happy for us to share this story), was on his way back to the UK from a business trip to Sweden and running close for time to get on the plane. After having gone through the bag check and x-ray station, in the rush to get on the plane, he was distracted and forgot to pick up the laptop after it had gone through the scan.

It was only the morning after returning home from the evening flight back that he realised the computer was missing and what had happened. Airport lost property was contacted with a description and identification details of the laptop, but unfortunately nothing had been handed into lost property. A report was left of the loss of the computer with the airport authorities and for our client's insurance purposes. From a practical perspective Onega then proceeded to procure a replacement laptop for our client the same day and configure for email, restore the files from most recent backup and generally get our client back to operation quickly and efficiently.

Normally this would be the end of the tale and you'd kick yourself for forgetting the laptop (though it's easily done and we're all human), but in this case the tale then continued a few days later...

Onega like to pro-actively manage our client's systems, and we have some software and systems that help us make sure that machines are in good health, up to date with security patches and generally happy. While monitoring the management system, we noticed that the lost laptop had done an electronic check-in, so must be alive somewhere, just not with our client. So we knew the machine was being used and now had a clue as to where it was.

Following the clues here our management system logs showed us the Internet IP address that the computer had registered on, and we could in turn find out which Swedish ISP ran this particular network.

Next step was to get in contact with the Swedish Airport Police. We must say that they were incredibly helpful. We filled them in on what we'd found and they were able to contact the ISP to find the subscriber details related to the IP address where the laptop had checked in from.

The next day, armed with this information and after we confirmed that the computer was still online from the same address, the police visited the house. Unfortunately there was no one in; so they broke the door down and entered the property, recovered the laptop, and left a note on the door asking the householder to get in touch.

The person who had the laptop claimed to have bought it from someone in a park, so was let go with a warning, a note on record, minus the laptop of course and with the task of replacing their front door.

The evidence here was later used to support (alongside other evidence) a successful prosecution of a member of the airport security scanning station staff; who it turned out had a sideline in taking and selling items that were left behind on the scan station when they really should have been handed into the airport lost property office.

Our client picked his laptop up a few weeks later when he returned again through the airport on business, and the laptop has now become a 'good spare' which is always a useful thing to have.

So a good result all round (unless you were the unwitting buyer of the laptop or the light fingered security officer of course!). Here at Onega we rather enjoyed working with the Swedish Airport Police as well as the happy outcome for our client in getting his computer back.

We can't promise that we'll be able to reunite every owner with their lost laptop, but we do promise to do our best for our clients to continue to provide excellence in IT support delivery that 'goes one step beyond' as Onega's normal standard.