If you've put off installing anti-theft software like Prey for so long that your laptop gets stolen before you get a chance, Consumerist reader Ryan notes that Dropbox can actually help you locate your missing computer.
While you should always have a password protecting your laptop, we've learned that they're not really that hard to break into—and if someone steals your laptop and suddenly gets access, the automatically launching Dropbox daemon can help save you:
A few days ago I was playing around on the Dropbox site—I use the desktop and mobile applications a lot, but don't interact with the site as much. While I was clicking around, I found the My Computers tab on the Account page which lists all of my devices AND their last logged IP. My stolen computer was still in the list along with its last known IP.
I stupidly didn't password protect my old laptop, so once the thief powered up and got online Dropbox kicked in and captured their IP. I then took that address and entered it into a few websites which gave me an approximate location along with a possible latitude and longitude - which turns out to be just down the street.
It won't give you as much information as something like Prey might, but it'll work in a pinch if you don't have any kind of anti-theft software installed. Hit the link to read more.
Man Gets Lead On Laptop Thief Using Dropbox Program [Consumerist]