Ask PowerPage: Locking Your PowerBook (Updated 2x)

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 30th, 2005, 10:15
Category: Accessory

Targus PA410U Cable Lock

Dear PowerPage:
I just got a PowerBook that I use daily at school and in labs and would like to be able to secure it to the desk by a cable or some other means. Is there something that your recommend?

A number of laptop locks that utilize the security cable port are available with key locks, including the Kensington MicroSaver, but I don’t like them because you can lose the key. I generally prefer cable locks with a combination lock like the Targus PA410U.
Your comments after the jump…


Targus PA410U Cable Lock

Dear PowerPage:
I just got a PowerBook that I use daily at school and in labs and would like to be able to secure it to the desk by a cable or some other means. Is there something that your recommend?

A number of laptop locks that utilize the security cable port are available with key locks, including the Kensington MicroSaver, but I don’t like them because you can lose the key. I generally prefer cable locks with a combination lock like the Targus PA410U.
Your Comments:

Reader #1:
I’ve had bad luck with the Targus locks that you’ve described. We installed approximately 200 of the locks in summer 2002. They weren’t too hard to install, but it wasn’t fun crawling underneath desks. In August 2004, we had 10 notebooks stolen. All of them were locked to the desks using the Targus cable lock. It appears that the thief used a tool to “bend” the locking mechanism out of the lock slot on the notebook. (When we looked at the locks, the metal looked bent). We were able to capture images of the thief on our video surveilence, but he was never apprehended, and our notebooks have not been recovered. We now recommend that the staff lock their notebooks in their desk drawers at night.
Reader #2:
don’t forget that kensington locks are seemingly incredibly weak protection, evidenced by the apparent ease of picking the lock with incredibly low-tech equipment.
Reader #3:
Part of the problem with the Kensington and Targus locks is that the locking slot itself is pretty much crap. Give a laptop a good yank, and you’ll rip the lock right out. You have to consider what the weakest point really is, and try to protect that. Once that is no longer the weakest point, you need to identify what the next weakest point is, and try to protect that.
For those people who prefer Kensington over Targus but still want combination locks, note that Kensington has a couple of options, see their 2217 and 6347. It’s worth noting that the MicroSaver Portable Notebook Combination Lock includes a retractable cable.
I have a Kensington lock now, but I don’t (yet) have one with a combination lock. The biggest problem with cable locks in general is finding a good place to attach them to, so that the laptop is locked down securely. It doesn’t do you any good to lock the cable to a table leg, if the table leg can be lifted up and the cable slipped right off.

What do you use? Contact us and I’ll update the story.

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