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MozyHome customer Paul quickly and easily recovered the data lost when his aging MacBook disappeared after a trans-Atlantic flight—but that's not the real story. He combined his own ingenuity and relentless detective work with the reliability of the MozyHome solution, and tracked down the thieves who helped themselves to his computer.

Coming home from Paris on a transatlantic flight, Paul accidentally left his laptop on the seat and departed the plane. Because exited passengers are not allowed back onto planes, he expected the ground crew to eventually find and return the laptop. It was never turned in, and Paul reported the loss to the airline and police. They were unable to help him.

Recovering the data lost on the laptop to a separate computer was simple and trouble-free. Losing the aging MacBook was almost a blessing, as it gave Paul the nudge to upgrade to a newer laptop. "It took 10 minutes to pick the data I wanted, and an hour later it was available. It wasn't an issue," he says. "It was a four-year old Mac, it had been dropped too many times and had coffee poured on it, so I was only mildly irritated by losing it."

Months later, while using Mozy to recover lost email for his wife, Paul discovered that his laptop was still in use. Because Mozy automatically continued to back up new data from Paul's purloined laptop, he was able to sift through the new files stored in the cloud—the thieves did not think to wipe the machine or disable the Mozy backup service. Cleverly investigating the new Web bookmarks and browsing history, it did not take long for him to learn who the computer's new user was, including his address.

The authorities couldn't find the missing laptop, but with evidence in hand that it continued to operate, Paul was able to work with the police and Mozy to take legal steps to recover the machine. "Mozy was incredibly helpful. Once we obtained a subpoena, we worked with Mozy and Comcast to get the physical address, which was—lo and behold—the same address I found in the web browser data," he says.

With a verified physical address in hand and Paul's complaint, police raided the home where the laptop was being used, and the person in possession of it quickly turned in the aircraft mechanic who had given him the computer.

Paul continues to rely on Mozy for home and work backup, with over 40,000 photographs backed up in the cloud. "Even though Mozy is remote storage, it's actually the easiest to navigate when you need to recover things," he says. "I thought it would be my last line of defense, but it turns out that it's the first."