Q:

How do you open a locked file cabinet without a key?

A:

Quick Answer

Filing cabinets often use simple locks, so it’s possible to open them with a small, thin metal instrument such as the scraper on a nail clipper.

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Full Answer

Filing-cabinet locking mechanisms function by using a metal bar that goes all the way through the cabinet and keeps any of the drawers from opening. Some cabinets have a hole underneath the bottom drawer. If the cabinet owner gets help lifting it, he can push a finger through this hole and raise the rod up in order to release the drawers, allowing the user to open them. Another approach is to force the lock. It is possible to do this with a hammer and a screw driver or with an electric drill. By placing the screwdriver’s head in the lock mechanism and hitting it with the hammer, the lock often pops out and allows the owner to open the drawer. This sometimes takes a few strikes to actually work. Drilling a hole through the lock often has the same result. However, these methods do ruin the lock. Another option is to take the straight scraping tool in a nail clipper and force it into the lock. By jiggling it around, sometimes it becomes possible to turn the lock like a key.

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