IPFetcher is a tiny program which may help you to recover a stolen PC or laptop. The program installs as a service, and every time your system boots, can email you its current IP address or upload the data to an FTP server.

To use the program, first grab a copy of the download, unzip it, and install both components (IPFetcher.msi and IMFetcherBackend.msi). There's no adware or other hassles. Reboot to ensure the IPFetcher service is available and ready for use.

Click Start > All Programs > Softraven > IPFetcher, and click either "Set FTP" or "Set Mail", depending on which method you'd like to use. Fill in the form with the various details (SMTP server, port number and so on).

Setup problems begin to emerge at around this point, particularly on the email side. The program could try to help by providing a default SMTP port (25), for instance, but there's nothing. And once you've entered your details, clicking "Test Mail" should send you a test message - but that didn't work for us, either. Even when our details were correct, all we saw was a horribly technical .NET error message.

IPFetcher hasn't finished, either. Once you've entered the details you'll probably click "Save", but this will just display a less than clear error message. You'll have to click "Set interval and log" and set both the "Reset log count" and "Repeat hours" (how often the location will be sent) values; "200" and "24 hours" will be fine for now. We would manually start the service, too, just in case (click Service Settings > "Click to manually start Service").

Finally, enter a password in the box, click Save and reboot your PC. And while the setup process was less than obvious, once it was out of the way we found IPFetcher worked very well, correctly retrieving our IP address and emailing or uploading it as we'd specified, and requiring no further maintenance at all.

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IPFetcher's setup process is horribly awkward, but once that's done the program provides an easy way to confirm the location of a PC or laptop