Introduction: Opening a Stuck Laptop Lock

About: Eric Forman works in the intersections between fine art, design, architecture, and technology. Forman uses digital fabrication and custom software to create objects and spaces that dynamically respond to viewe…

Sometimes, oh say when you are running to a meeting and you need to bring your laptop with you, your laptop lock might not open. This has been reported for Kensington locks in particular.

You might think, oh someone must have known my combination and then decided to change it without telling you, but then realizing just how illogical that is you have no choice but to try every other combination you know is wrong but you think your decaying memory might somehow have misremembered.

Once that stage passes, and you are getting progressively later and later to your meeting, hypothetically of course, you might search on the internet and find that Kensington locks are known to get stuck and therefore are filled, hypothetically, with anger and frustration.

Here, in brief, is the easiest way to get rid of the lock without harming your silvery shimmery laptop.

Step 1: Cut the Cable So You Can Bring a Proper Tool Into the Mix

First things first. Cut the cable so you can move the computer and get to the lock easier. The cable is distressingly easy to cut. I used a Klein cable cutter and exerted child-like pressure, but even a cheaper cable cutter will work - you don't need bolt cutters.

Step 2: Set Up for Lock Destruction

If you don't have access to a metal bandsaw, you could use a hacksaw but most laptop locks have their housing very close to the computer. I didn't want to risk scratching my MacBook so I took it into the metal shop.

I laid a clean rag on the saw table, and then another rag on top to shield the computer from metal chips.

Line up the blade to cut through the thinner part of the lock housing where the numbers are. DO NOT cut the lock very close to your laptop. Not only will you avoid the risk of a slip-up, but you won't have the bolt part of the lock left inside the hole in your computer.

Although the bolt inside is hardened, the housing didn't seem to be as hard, so I set the bandsaw on a fairly slow speed (125) but not the slowest. If appropriate, don't forget to put the saw into low gear.

Step 3: Show Lock Who's Boss

Apply pressure with your thumb to the end of the lock and push the computer lightly with your other hand so it slides on the rag.

Move slowly. The entire cut will take 3-5 minutes.

Add a few drops of cutting fluid as you go.

Because the lock can pivot a bit in the laptop hole, be sure your cut stays straight as you push. Again, move slowly.

Step 4: Admire Your Handiwork

Once the lock is cut, push the button and out pops your lock.

No pieces are left behind.

Take your computer away and relish its freedom.