Windows Guides: How Windows Knows Where You Are

how windows knows where you are

By Rich Robinson for Windows Guides

Enable or Disable Location Sensors in Windows 7

The location sensors in Windows 7 enable your operating system and other software to adapt to your current geographical location. Of course, your computer must have a location sensor supporting hardware e.g., a GPS device, wireless WAN radios or other cellular triangulation technologies. Using these location sensors, your applications can know exactly where you are and provide you with relevant information and content. For example, some twitter clients in Windows can use the location sensors and can automatically post your geographical location along with your tweets.

Most of the modern laptops and desktops are coming with some sort of GPS device installed inside them to take advantage of this location sensor feature in Windows. But even if your computer does not have such a location sensor hardware device, you can install a software emulation of such devices. Geosense for Windows is such a software based location sensor for Windows 7 which uses Google Location API to find your present location.

By default, Windows 7 does not enable the location sensors for any user. If you want to make use of location sensor feature in Windows, then you can enable them from the Control Panel in Windows 7. Here is how:

This excerpt appears with the permission of Windows Guides.

Update: Windows 8 will include this same technology

In Windows 8 Release Preview, the built-in Windows Location Provider supplies apps with location data based on Wi-Fi triangulation and IP address data.–microsoft.com

More information on this topic:

Makeuseof.com: Geosense and Windows 7 Location Sensors

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10 thoughts on “Windows Guides: How Windows Knows Where You Are

  1. I do not authorize my location being broadcast without my explicit consent, but since I use Win XP this really doesn't apply to me anyways. If I upgrade in the future, I will NOT be using this feature.

  2. It’s ironic that yesterday I found the Geosense program on my PC and deleted it. I’m not sure how it got there, but I have a feeling it may of hitched a ride on the back of something else I was downloading. I am normally careful about stuff like that, and always choose custom install whenever I download some software.

    However this Geosense program got on my system, I inadvertently found it and dispatched it forthwith. I don’t want useless, innate and sinister crap like that on my pc. Thanks but no thanks!

    The very fact that it sneaked past me onto my system is cause for concern in and of itself. There is a chance, however, that it was there all along, and that I have only just noticed it…but I think the first scenario is the more likely of the two as I always examine the factory installed programs whenever I get a new PC, and the first thing I do before I even load any programs onto it, is get rid of the crapware. I’m sure I would have spotted it beforehand.

  3. My Toshiba laptop was recently stolen.
    I would like to locate the current user
    who is (probably) accessing the internet
    via public WiFi.
    Is there a way I can locate my laptop
    when the thief is using a public WiFi?

    • @Tom Brooks: You could have done it if you could install a location tracker software to your laptop which will post the to a server. Does you can keep track of all your mobile or laptop device in future. Le me know if you need any help on creating location tracking software/service.

  4. Windows 8 is weird, though. Not using wireless, going through a VPN tunnel (private IP) to Seattle public IP (work network). All other GeoIP services show Seattle. Windows 8 shows true location. Kinda cool, but creepy. 🙂

    Thanks for the post!

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