Here’s how Microsoft plans to stop people stealing your laptop

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A new patent has been filed by Microsoft that is intended to stop laptop thieves.

In the document that was submitted, it describes a functionality that would disable and wipe the laptop in a similar way that can be done with mobile phones therefore making them far harder to resell.

The patent was first spotted by MSPowerUser and appears to be an extension of the company’s vision for “always connected” PCs – basically to be constantly connected to a cellular network, the same as mobile devices.

However, the patent explains how devices could be wiped remotely without being connected to a network via a similar method to the “emergency call” function on phones.

“At least some embodiments described herein relate to the restricted use of a cellular network to facilitate disablement of a device that is suspected lost or stolen,” reads the patent. 

“Accordingly, even if the device is not capable of general use of the cellular network (e.g., due to a physical authentication module, such as a subscriber identity module, being absent and/or due to a software restriction on cellular network access), disablement communications are still permitted across the cellular network. 

“Accordingly, the device may receive a disable command from the disablement service over the cellular network, and acknowledge processing of the disable command to the disablement service also over the cellular network. 

“Thus, efforts by an unauthorized possessor of the device to prevent disablement by removing the physical authentication module are thwarted. Likewise, turning the cellular service off using software settings at the device also does not prevent the device from being disabled via cellular network communication.”

As with many patents, whether it is actually ever manufacturer and goes on commercial sale remains to be seen.

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