Opening Locked DVD Cases (The Green/Red Lock Kind)


Introduction: Opening Locked DVD Cases (The Green/Red Lock Kind)

I will be walking you through how to open locking DVD cases that have the Green/Red lock symbol on the edge of the case. If you have the kind with the red bar, see this instructable.

Of course, I do not encourage you to use this for illegal purposes. I figured this out due to bringing home DVDs from the library that did not get unlocked.

Step 1: Materials

In order to unlock the DVD case, the least that you can get by with are two very strong magnets. The magnets pictured below are harvested from a hard drive. Generally, the older the drive, the larger and more powerful the magnets. Some new hard drives and some laptop drives have magnets which are too small and weak to use for this purpose.

The other item that can come in handy here is a screwdriver with a small regular tip. You can also use a knife, icepick, etc... as long as it has a tip small and sharp enough to grab the plastic.

Step 2: The Locking Bar

The locking bar is not accessible from the outside of a locked DVD case. It has a magnet on each side and the default position of the magnets keeps the locking bar from moving from the position that it is presently in. This is where the magnets come in handy.

Step 3: Attaching the Magnets

In order to move the locking bar, we need to attach the magnets to the locking bar from the outside of the case. This is fairly easy, as the magnets stick to the case very nicely when you are in the right spots.

1. Take the first magnet and place it in the upper right front corner of the DVD case. You may have to slide the magnet around a bit, but you should definitely feel it stick when you hit the right spot. You may also be able to hear the magnet in the locking bar click as it moves.

3. Take the second magnet and place it in the lower left corner on the back of the case. Again you may have to move it around slightly before you feel it catch,

Step 4: Opening the Lock

If you have strong enough magnets (and a measure of coordination), you can do this without an additional tool. If you move both magnets to the right simultaneously, you should see the lock symbol on the bar move. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the bar to move this way.

The quick and easy way to do this is to take a small screwdriver (or other tool) and use it to move the locking bar. Again, to the left for locking and to the right for unlocking.

If you have the magnets attached but are unable to move the locking bar, you may not have powerful enough magnets. I went through a couple sets before I found a pair that worked well. Weaker magnets like standard refrigerator magnets are NOT powerful enough to do the trick,



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    33 Discussions

    Thanks for the destructions. Borrowed some DVDs from the library for the first time and didn't realise the cases were locked.

    saved me from waiting till the next day and ruin movie night

    thanks worked great

    Thank you!!!!!!! You saved movie night. My husband did self checkout at the library, and didnt notice the lock until later. Library is closed until monday.
    Now we can watch star wars. ;)

    1 reply

    Or, here's an idea from a librarian -- if you end up with a DVD case that didn't get unlocked, how about if you take it back to the library and have it unlocked, rather than helping to increase the number of empty DVD cases I find on my shelves?

    9 replies

    These types of cases are mindlessly easy to pop open with a tiny bit of brute prying force. They can also very easily be opened with a knife. I highly doubt that the knowledge of how to open these with magnets will increase theft.

    FIRST, I'm disabled, it's a big deal for me to drive to my library to pick up the DVD. SECOND, the library is still currently closed - too early in the morning. THIRD, I don't know when I'll be able to drive back to the library. Again, disabled. Please think about how inconvenient it is for those who come home from the library with an item then can't immediately use, then how much MORE inconvenient it is for someone with limited mobility!

    Most public libraries have outreach programs to help reach patrons who are unable to go to the library. I would suggest contacting your local library to see what outreach services they offer.

    In the first place we wouldn't be having this problem if we still had HUMANS serving us at the counter instead of machines!

    What r u cutting down on? A lot of these librarians were volunteers anyway! And what theft are you referring to since you have to pay for the CDs -. it's not like you're downloading them for free or something!

    Why presume that opening the case will result in theft? Do you truly expect thieves to overrun the library with magnets? And why waste the gas?

    Well after working all day then going to the library or video store to get a movie its bloody annoying when you get home to realize the twit working there forgot to unlock the case, until reading this guide I would just rip the case open and tell them its there fault for not opening it.

    Why drive all the way back, and do it again, when you can do it yourself. He say don't use anything here for illegal purposes. Which, stealing would be. Please, try to be nicer.

    I'm sure you meant to sound polite, but you didn't come off that way. Maybe you could edit that comment so people won't think less of you.

    This is so stupid went to play a new dvd for my girl today and they didnt unlock any of them ,yeah its a bit stupid having to go back to the store ,proving you purchased it then have them remove it. AHHHHH!

    Thank you so much for your instructables. I purchased a DVD online and the seller forgot to unlock my DVD (awkward!). Your method works very well. I have a few rare-earth magnets lying around and I didn't even need the screwdriver to guide it open; the lock just popped green really easily as I moved the magnets. Thanks so much again. This saves me either a return postage or an embarrassing trip to JB Hifi.

    If you go to lowes, or home depot (or any hardware store for that matter if your country doesnt have a lowes or home depot) you can find "super magnets) that can pick up 15+ lbs. i am sure these magnets are strong enough...they are cheap to. they also have an integrated bolt that you could slide a square tube or length of wood ~1" thick, and drill a series of holes to adjust for the location of the lock bars. then you could just slide the bar w/o a screw driver...OR you could do the same thing with a 5lb magnet. they are small, and easy to work with...hope i didnt ruin your ible...maby you could add this idea to your ible...multiple methods of opening a dvd box.

    Thanks so much for the instructable. I borrowed a disk from my brother and for some reason it was still locked. Now I can watch it. Hooray!

    I'm a librarian too, and I was very glad to find this tutorial!

    A DVD that one of our patrons requested through Interlibrary Loan arrived locked. We don't lock ours, so we don't have the device for unlocking; and the original lending library is 500 miles away. Sending it back to get unlocked so they could send it to us again was not practical.

    I can appreciate wanting to protect a library's collection of DVDs ... but please, O my library brethren, unlock the case if you're sending it to another library!