Everdream has launched a service to delete or encrypt files on stolen PCs and laptops. But the service depends utterly on the thief being naive enough to connect the stolen PC/laptop to the Internet without wiping the the existing software on the hard drive first.

The Everdream software is implemented as an agent on the PC or laptop. When the device is stolen and next connects to the Internet the agent software links to Everdream's control centre and sends a set of network location information.

This triggers the sending of software from the control centre to automatically encrypt or delete files on the stolen device. Customers of Everdream's Theft Recovery Service set policies to say whether files are deleted or encrypted and which files are to be targeted.

This service is in addition to Everdream's existing set of corporate PC management services for things such as online backup.

The company says that the network location information can assist law enforcement agencies in tracking the stolen box. In the UK it is debatable if the Police would do anything other than provide a theft reference number if a PC was stolen.

If a thief reformats the hard drive of the stolen PC or laptop then the service won't work. Equally if the thief does not connect to the Internet at all then all the files on the hard drive could be copied at leisure.

Everdream does not say how the theft is recognised by the software. The service costs $6 per PC per month in the USA - assume £5.00 or so in the UK.