When you buy something, you want to protect your investment, right?

A laptop is a very expensive investment - especially if you get a nice one. They can cost $1000, $2000 or even more.

Naturally, you don't want to see that investment go to waste. So here are a few things you can do.

**** Buy a lock for you computer. ****

Most newer laptops have a place to attach a security lock. These locks come in several varieties. Some are meant to wrap around the computer to prevent it from being opened, and some attach to a nearby piece of furniture - like a table or your chair.

Make sure you get a lock that is tough. I prefer a lock that has a tough outer coating and metal reinforcement wires on the inside. These are very difficult to cut - even with professional equipment. A strong lock will almost eliminate the chances of your computer being stolen.

**** Always password-protect your user accounts. ****

Statistics have shown that a computer that is password protected is far less likely to be stolen that one that is not. Why?

Often thieves are looking for more than just a free computer. They want your information. If they can get access to your personal data, your financial information, your history - they couldn't care less about the computer itself.

While it's not a pro-proof countermeasure, a password on your computer helps to minimize the risk.

**** Keep the computer with you while you are out - if possible. ****

When traveling with your laptop - never leave it sitting somewhere in or out of it's bag - even if it's only a moment.

A few seconds is all a thief needs to grab the goods and run. If you absolutely MUST leave the computer, leave it with someone you trust.

**** Buy a theft recovery service. ****

In the event that your computer IS stolen, there are services out there that can track down your computer and help police retrieve it. This is done with hidden software that gets installed on the computer.

When you report your computer stolen, the tracking software is told to announce it's location to the service so the criminal can be caught and your computer returned to you.

There is almost always a fee for a service like this, but the cost is far less than the loss of a computer.

LoJack is currently the most popular theft recovery system for laptops. It works on PCs and Macs alike. http://www.lojack.com/pages/laptop.aspx

* If you laptop is ever stolen, report it IMMEDIATELY. If you wait, the chances of getting your computer back diminish greatly.