How Do Laptop Locks Work?

Laptop locks are used to secure your laptop and prevent theft. The majority of them attach to the security slot found in the rear corner of your laptop and are affixed to a large, unmovable object. According to Kensington, creators of security for technology platforms, 97 percent of stolen laptops are never recovered. It's imperative that you treat your laptop as a valuable investment, never leaving it where it might prove vulnerable to theft. If you get into the habit of using security locks, you won't need to worry about losing such an important item.

Chain and lock on laptop computer
Laptop locks provide excellent protection against theft.
credit: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Security Cables

This type of security includes a circular anchor that looks almost like a bullet you push into the security slot. Some models require a key or you can turn the anchor to the "Lock" position. Attached to the anchor is a cable you can loop around a table leg or desk. Most security cables work the same way, with little variation. For example, some cables are retractable or designed to secure more than one laptop, for added convenience. Average length varies from 6 to 8 feet and you can customize it to fit your needs.

Laptop Lockers

Laptop lockers are like small, metal briefcases into which you place your laptop, before securing it to a wall. The locking mechanisms for these devices vary; some come with a standard key lock while others have an electronic keypad. This keypad ensures that only someone who knows the code has access. They're made of steel and usually fit laptops 17 inches or smaller. Elastic straps or metal barriers hold the laptop in place when the cabinet is closed. Some models have openings on the side for the power cord in case you need to charge the laptop while it's enclosed.

Tie-Down Brackets

Tie-down brackets can be used with a cable for double security. Brackets are similar to lockers in that they fit around your laptop, except most of the laptop is exposed. Your laptop can be open or closed while bolted down, and you must unscrew the brackets and unlock the cable to release it. The other option uses a bolt with a swivel, which is ideal for laptops used in public locations like schools and libraries. This is a more permanent solution, because the bolts cannot be removed without special tools.

Portable Carts

The main way laptop carts differ from other security solutions is that they provide a way to transport multiple laptops simultaneously. Portable carts hold approximately 20 to 30 laptops, each separated by slot dividers that keep them in a vertical position. The front of the cart is like a cabinet, with doors that slide closed to accommodate a padlock or combination lock. A rear panel allows access to electrical components and a divider for power cord management in case the laptops need to charge while in storage.