Help! I’ve Lost My Laptop

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Your laptop is your best friend, your appointment setter, your note-taker, and your entertainment center. Losing it or, worse, having it stolen can be a devastating blow when you’re in college. Fortunately, there are several things you can do if your laptop is compromised.

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Before you do anything else…

If your laptop is safely by your side (and you’re using it to read this article), take a break and do the most important thing any computer user can do: back up your data! Save your most important files, documents, photos, and videos on a cloud system so that if your computer is totally lost, you will still be able to access your final paper or check out those photos of you on your Spring Break vacation. Cloud storage doesn’t cost much, and in many cases is free. It’s worth taking a few minutes to ensure your most valuable items are safe and secure.

1.   Call Campus Police

First things first: call the police ASAP. Even if your laptop is a dinosaur and not that expensive, it is important that campus police (or, if off-campus, the local police) have a report on it. They may be able to watch security camera footage or hunt down some leads about your case. It never hurts to try. If you are unsure if it was stolen, calling campus police can also help you find out where the lost and found is located on campus.

2.   Let Your Friends Know

It may be embarrassing, but your friends can be a great asset in tracking down a missing laptop. They may be able to help you retrace your steps. One of them may even have grabbed it for you.

3.   Get In Touch with Professors

If an upcoming project was saved on your computer, don’t waste time. Let your professor know. If he or she is skeptical of your story, bring in some evidence (such as a copy of the police report). Hopefully, your instructor will be understanding and give you some extra time to turn in your work. If he or she doesn’t budge, try bringing it up the chain of command by notifying your counselor.

4.   Change Your Passwords

If you’re like most students, you probably used autofill or remember me apps to store your passwords for quick logins. This is the time to change your methods. Using a friend’s computer, change your passwords on every single account you have that would lead someone to your personal information. Start with your bank and shopping accounts, then go to your student logins where your social security number and grades are stored, finally hit your email and social media logins. In addition, make sure you switch to a password protection service that keeps your information for you.

5.   Check the Insurance or Warranty

Some insurance policies offer assistance if your laptop was lost, stolen, or broken. If you are unsure of what your policy covers, have you or whomever purchased your computer make a call. If you have renter’s insurance on your dorm room, you may also be entitled to some assistance in getting a new computer after paying the deductible.

Have you ever dealt with losing a laptop? What valuable advice can you give our readers? Let us know!

How to Keep Your Laptop Safe in College

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An important (and expensive) item you will bring with you to college is your laptop. But with danger of a laptop breaking or being stolen, it can be daunting to tote such an item around in public where it may be vulnerable. Instead of being afraid or overly cautious, stock up on tech accessory paks and follow these steps to ensure your laptop is safe in college.

Rule #1: Never Walk Away

Being on campus and feeling a part of the community can give you a sense of security. But while it’s wonderful to feel safe, the truth is that theft happens in places you least expect it to. Even high traffic areas such as a library, cafe, or student union have become prime target areas for laptop thieves. Prevent the opportunity to steal your most precious commodity by keeping it by your side at all time. This includes when you are grabbing your coffee or chatting at another table with a friend.

Rule #2: Consider How You Carry It

For some, protecting the computer from spills or falls is the most important thing. In that case, invest in a good, thickly padded laptop case that is easy to carry around on your back. On the other hand, if you are more concerned with theft, a laptop bag may become a target. In this case, a normal backpack or purse is a better concealer and less likely to be targeted.

Rule #3: Turn It Off

Forgetting to turn your laptop off when you are done may not seem like a big deal. However, your laptop’s delicate parts need time to cool off and reset. Keeping your computer on runs the risk of burning key pieces out. In addition, if you were to drop your laptop on your commute to and from classes, it will be more likely to break if the computer was running than if it was turned off. Finally, if there was to be an outage or surge, having your computer turned off can save it from power issues.

Rule #4: Be Password Safe

Your personal information is never safe when it is stored carelessly on websites and/or protected by easy-to-guess passwords. Lock your computer and your information up by using passwords that contain a variety of characters. Additional tips include changing your passwords frequently, and using different ones for a variety of accounts.

Rule #5: Lock it Down

Those who really value safety may want to consider investing in a laptop lock. These locks look and work just like a bicycle lock would, attaching to your laptop by tethering to your desk or leg of a stationary classroom table with a strong cable. Those who want to steal your computer will need to do a ton of work to get past this safety measure.

You need your laptop for schoolwork, taking notes during class, and entertainment during free time. But why run the risk of leaving your possessions in danger? Following the five steps of laptop safety, you can ensure that your computer will be guarded from hazardous situations.

Do you follow any of these rules to keep your laptop safe? Let us know!

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The Best Apps for Incoming Freshman

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Your cell phone and tablet are already glued to your side—and with college about to begin, you’ll need them more than ever. That’s why it’s important to load up with the latest apps to keep you connected and organized. In addition to software programs on your laptop that back up important files, utilize the technology at your fingertips. Before you head off to your new dorm, be sure to download the best apps for underclassman.

1.   Friendsy

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Made by college students for college students, Friendsy wants you to connect with your fellow classmates in ways you never imagined. The app encourages you to bust out of your social circle, helping you meet others for friendship and (perhaps) romance. What makes it different from other similar apps is that it requires you to register with an “.edu” address, which means it is monitored closely for abuse. This kind of added security makes Friendsy a must-have for college students looking to find like-minded peers.

2.   Dropbox

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Your computer’s memory fills up fast with important college documents quickly. But you don’t want to just junk all those essays and projects—they may come in handy when you interview for internships, jobs, and grad school. With the Dropbox app, you can save all your old documents on a secure cloud network. For the last five years, Dropbox has led the way in free and paid storage services. It’s perfect for hosting private pictures of your last awesome party or simply storing away your final project notes for the end of the semester. Plus, you can access Dropbox with your phone, computer, or tablet for even easier service!

3.   Evernote

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Productivity is essential when you’re a college student. But managing your to-do list and having a space to take notes is not as easy as it seems. This incredibly popular application provides a digital workspace right at your fingertips, allowing you to write, collect, and compose everything from building spreadsheets to saving interesting research articles. Plus, it’s social: you can share and communicate with other Evernote users, making it a must-have for managing a dreaded group project or working with a remote study group.

4.   Skype

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Phone calls and texting are great, but if homesickness really strikes, you’re going to want to see your parents, your friends, and even your pets. Skype may be a little older than its competitors (like Apple FaceTime and Google Hangouts), but its longtime reliability has allowed it to survive and thrive in an increasingly crowded marketplace. In fact, Skype is the most-used video chat app in the world! It’s perfect for keeping in touch with out-of-town (or out-of-country) friends and family.

5.   iTunes U and Khan Academy

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Learning applications like iTunes U and Kahn Academy bring the college experience to your device without the pricey textbooks and outrageous tuition costs. With these apps, you can take “courses” in everything from ancient civilizations to modern television shows. But the best part is that these applications can also help you be better at your current courses. Khan Academy in particular offers a plethora of enrichment courses that provide tutorials in math, science, and even test preparations.

Don’t waste your time filling up your device with useless social media apps or games. Make your phone or tablet a space that ensures your college experience is productive, entertaining, and connected. With these five applications, you’ll be ready to download the best first year of college possible. Do you plan on downloading any special apps for your first year at school? Let us know!

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