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Recover a stolen Mac with free tracking software

It's called Hidden, and it normally costs $20. But from now until January 1, 2011, you can score a license absolutely free. Watch your back, Mac thieves!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
Normally $20, Macintosh theft-recovery software Hidden is absolutely free--for a limited time.
Normally $20, Macintosh theft-recovery software Hidden is absolutely free--for a limited time. Flipcode Ltd.

Quick bit of housekeeping before I begin. Based on the volume of e-mail and comments I've received lately, there's something important I need to repeat.

I have no control over prices. I have no control over a vendor's inventory. I don't sell anything directly, nor does CNET (with a few exceptions).

What I do is write up the best daily deal I can find, then publish it around 10 a.m. ET. CNET sends out a newsletter version at 1 p.m. ET (which, FYI, is several hours earlier than it used to go out).

Sometimes, the deal mentioned in that e-mail is already sold out. Or the vendor has raised the price. I know this is frustrating, but I ask you to bear in mind: I have no control over this. If you need to vent by sending me nasty letters, accusing me of "bait and switch," and all that, go right ahead. Hopefully it'll make you feel better, because, quite frankly, it makes me feel rotten.

While you're at it, why not send some hate mail to the weatherman who forecasted sun and got rain? Or you could just try to remember: he has no control over the weather. And he's just as frustrated as you are.

Thanks for listening. I know most of you understand this. But an increasingly vocal few just don't seem to.

Today's deal won't sell out (though it will end in a couple weeks). It's called Hidden, and it's a tracking utility and service for Mac systems. Normally it costs $20, but you can get a Hidden license free until Jan. 1, 2011.

Just to clarify, the license doesn't expire on Jan. 1--the offer does. Once you've installed and registered the software, it's yours to keep for life. No subscriptions, no renewals, no Hidden (pun intended) charges.

I'm not a Mac user myself, so I can't offer any hands-on opinions of the software. But it works like this: you install it, configure it, then forget about it. If your Mac goes missing, you find another computer, sign into your Hidden account, and activate tracking.

At that point, the software transmits the location of the machine, along with photos of the thief (mwa ha ha) and screenshots of the computer in use. The Hidden team will even help you work with police to recover the system.

Looking for a similar theft-recovery freebie for your Windows laptop? Try LockItTight. For your iOS device, find out how to use Apple's newly free Find My iPhone app. And for about a buck a month, iHound offers a robust tracking solution for Android phones.