Microsoft’s ‘Find My Device’ is the PC management tool you didn’t know you needed

Microsoft’s “Find My Device” feature is so much more than a simple device locator that it’s like calling a “car” nothing more than just four tires and a steering wheel. The online service is a powerful PC manager in its own right, and arguably more effective in that regard than Windows itself.

We originally covered Find My Device when it debuted about six years ago as a service to, obviously, find a lost device. It’s changed so little that you can still use the instructions in the original article to enable it.

The feature made far more sense when Microsoft actually sold devices that could be lost—i.e., Windows phones. Once Microsoft discontinued Windows 10 Mobile, you might think that much of that value went away. Over time, though, the opposite occurred.

First, we’ll reiterate how to turn on Windows 10’s Find My Device feature, then step through the many ways in which it can be used. It’s especially useful if you own more than one device, or manage a few laptops that your kids use while they’re learning from home.

How to turn on Find My Device

Remember, Find My Device is a Microsoft service. If your PC is signed into your Microsoft account, you’ll first enable the management features of Find My Device.

find my device find my pen Mark Hachman / IDG

You can quickly turn on “Find My Device” from within the Windows 10 Settings menu.

You will need to enroll your PC specifically into the location component of Find My Device. (Microsoft does this for your privacy’s sake.) Check out our previous story on how to turn on Windows 10’s Find My Device feature, or do this: Go to the Windows 10 Settings menu, then Update & Security > Find My Device.

What can Find My Device actually do?

Find My Device and the ”devices” page of your Microsoft account are essentially one and the same. Bookmark the URL, as it’s your homepage for your PCs’ management. You’ll need to sign in with your Microsoft account, if you haven’t already.

You should see a list of Windows devices that are attached to your account. It might be one; it might be many. By exploring the page, we can give you a deeper understanding of what Find My Device can do.

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