If you have ever lost or misplaced a device you know how gut wrenching that feeling can be along with the worry about the data on it and its vulnerability in the hands of someone else.
Luckily, there are tools available in Windows 10 for PCs and Mobile devices that can help you try and locate those missing devices before you have to give up on locating your laptop or phone.
The first thing you need to do in order to use this location based tracking is to make sure it is turned on for each Windows 10 based device you might want to locate in the future. Obviously that means portable devices such as tablets and phones as your desktop is unlikely to be misplaced since it is chained to your desk.
The setting for Find my Device on tablets, laptops and other portable devices running Windows 10 is in the Windows Settings > Update & security > Find my device settings page.
Just select the Change button and then make sure the Save my device's location periodically option is turned on.
On Windows 10 Mobile devices the Save my device's location periodically setting is also in the Windows Settings > Update & security > Find My Phone settings page. Make sure the tracking option is toggled to On on this page and if you want your device to report its location more often then also toggle the Save my device's location more frequently option to on.
Once your devices have tracking turned on you can access their latest reported locations in your Microsoft Account at account.microsoft.com/devices
On this page you will see all devices that are using your Microsoft Account whether tracking is being used or not. Just look for the device you are trying to track down and select the Find my Phone or Find my Device link on the device listing.
You will then see a page similar to this with a map to show the last location that was tracked for that particular device. An active device will also show a smaller circle/range for the location of the device on this map to help you track it down. Obviously, the faster you do this after realizing your device was left behind somewhere the more accurate it will be and by reviewing the map you can figure out where you might have left it behind by remembering where you stopped in the indicated area. I used an older device for this screenshot so it is a very broad view of the map however, active devices will have a much smaller radius around them.
You may also notice three options on the left hand side of this screen that allow you to take other steps in relation to your lost device and each of them are self-explanatory and very clearly marked.
Of course, using any of these three options requires that the device have battery left so my recommendation is that you use the Lock option immediately so that anyone finding your device will be able to contact you if you leave your alternate phone number on the devices screen.
Erase is an extreme measure but if you do not believe your device will be found then issue this command so someone can not access your data.
Now if you have simply misplaced your phone around the house somewhere then use the Ring option as this will cause the phone to ring even if it is set to silent or vibrate mode.