Frequently Asked Questions about CompuTrace Anti-Theft Software

Q. What is CompuTrace and what does it do?

A. CompuTrace is a small software client that resides in the BIOS and on the hard drive of the computer. It is designed to assist in the recovery of a laptop that is either lost or stolen.

Q. How does it work?

A.  CompuTrace must check in through an Internet connection at least once every 30 days in order to maintain the "recovery guarantee," which is part of our contracted service with the manufacturer, Absolute Software. If a laptop is lost or stolen and it hasn't reported in within 30 days, attempts to recover it would still be made but department\University may not receive replacement money in the event the laptop isn't recovered in a timely fashion. Once a laptop regularly reports in again, it is under the standard warranty.

Q. Will CompuTrace protect the information on my laptop?

A. No.  CompuTrace will help us locate and recover your laptop, but it won't protect it during the time after it is lost of stolen.  For that reason, the University is also installing McAfee Endpoint Encryption that will protect data on the hard drive from being viewed by an unauthorized person.

Q. Do I have to have CompuTrace software installed on my laptop?

A. Yes, all laptops that are used for any aspect of University business, regardless of how it was acquired or funded, must have CompuTrace installed if the hardware will support it. Personal laptops that were purchased with personal funds are not included in this requirement.

Q. How do I know if CompuTrace is already installed?

A. The University has already installed CompuTrace on almost half of its laptops. If your laptop is one of those that does not yet have it, you will be contacted to schedule an appointment to have it installed.

On most laptops, CompuTrace is silent and invisible and will not be detected by looking at the disk directory or running a utility that examines RAM. On most laptops, with the exception of Macintoshes, it cannot be erased off the hard drive by deleting files because it is not visible in file directories. Since it is part of the laptop's BIOS, it can survive a hard drive re-format, re-partitioning or even a complete hard drive replacement.

Q. What happens if the computer's hard drive is removed?

A. On most our newer, standard Dell and Hewlett-Packard laptops, CompuTrace is embedded into the BIOS.  If the hard drive is removed, CompuTrace is persistent and will re-install itself onto any hard drive that is inserted into the PC.

Q. Why aren't you installed CompuTrace on KUPI's HP tablets and laptops?

A. KUPI has elected not to install CompuTrace on its Hewlett-Packard tablets and laptops. If you are the administrator for a KUPI department and would like to discuss having CompuTrace installed on your department's laptops, please contact Jeffrey Thomas at 913-588-4807.

Q. How much does CompuTrace cost?

A. The cost is included as part of the purchase price of a new Dell or Hewlett-Packard laptop and varies depending on the manufacturer and model of laptop.  The costs associated with retrofitting our existing laptops is being paid for by the University.

Q. You've only mentioned laptops.  Are there any plans to install CompuTrace on desktops or other devices?

A. At this time, only laptops are being covered with this program. However, the Agent can be installed on desktops.

Q. If my laptop is stolen, what do I do?

A. It's extremely important that any stolen or missing laptop is reported immediately either to Jayhawk Tech Clinic (IT Help Desk) at 913-588-7995 or Information Security, 913-588-3333.  In addition, you will need to contact Campus Police, 913-588-5030 to file a Police Report. These actions will trigger our partnership with both Absolute Software and law enforcement in an effort to locate the laptop and, hopefully, recover it.

Q. Is my laptop protected when I travel?

A. The software is designed to work in both the USA and Canada. In other locations, reliance on the cooperation of local law enforcement is not necessarily as consistent.

Q. Can CompuTrace be used by someone to view the data on my computer?

A. No.

Q. Will CompuTrace affect my laptop's performance?

A. No. CompuTrace resides in a very small amount of memory and will not affect either your laptop's performance or security.  The CompuTrace agent does periodically check in with the Monitoring Center over the Internet, but the traffic that is sent is extremely small.

Q. Does CompuTrace work on a Macintosh laptop?

A. Yes, however, the software is not "persistent" on Macintosh laptops. In other words, if the hard drive is formatted or replaced, CompuTrace will no longer be active on the laptop and would have to be reinstalled.  For this reason, KUMC is not installing CompuTrace on its Macintosh laptops.

Q. Can I get CompuTrace for my personal laptop?

A. Many employees and students have asked if CompuTrace is available to be installed on personally-owned laptops or tablets.  The retail version of the software, called LoJack for Laptops, can be purchased at any local computer or electronics retail store or directly from (Absolute Software).  The cost is $49 for a 1-year monitoring subscription or $99 for a 3-year subscription.

Q. Who should I contact if I have additional questions about CompuTrace?

A. Staff with questions about CompuTrace that are not covered by this FAQ, should contact Jayhawk Tech Clinic (IT Help Desk) at 913-588-7995 for additional assistance.

Last modified: Jun 16, 2016