If you're going to lose a laptop, better it be a Chromebook

I left my Chromebook on a bus yesterday, and my own Defensive Computing let me down.

Lost my Chromebook on a bus
Craig Sunter from Manchester, UK (Missed the bus !) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

I lost my laptop computer yesterday. I was on a long bus ride that became even longer due to traffic. I was a bit off to begin with, having gotten up earlier than usual for the trip. By the time I got off the bus, my brain was mush.

I was sitting by the window. The Chromebook that I had been using to do some writing was next to me, propped up between my seat and the wall of the bus. The Chromebook was very small (an Asus Flip with a 10.1 inch screen), tucked away in a black sleeve, virtually hidden against the wall.

The good news is that whoever found it will not be able to access any of the files on the machine. Unlike Windows and Mac laptops, there is no easy hack around the required password to access a Chromebook. As additional protection, the files stored on the computer are encrypted automatically by the operating system. The only thing the thief who stole the Chromebook can do with it is reset it to a virgin state.

The bad news is that, being a Defensive Computing guy, I kept a backup of what I was working on, on a USB flash drive plugged into the computer. My big mistake was not putting the flash drive in my pocket when I was done working.

When anyone thinks Chromebook, they think cloud. The bus had Wi-Fi, but it was miserably slow. I could have made a hotspot on my phone for the Chromebook to connect to, but frankly, it never even occurred to me to backup the files I was working on to the cloud.

Lesson learned the hard way.

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