Keeping PB safe in my dorm?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Demon Hunter, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    Hey guys,

    I know a lot of you are college students, I'm going to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus next fall. I'm planning to buy a Powerbook soon, and although I will have it with me almost 95% of the time, I would like to have a way of keeping it safe in my dorm. Has this been an issue for anyone? As for locking the door, well, I wouldn't trust my roomie with the well-being of my Powerbook even if he is one of my best friends. :cool:

    Is there some kind of lock/safe product that would work well for this? What have your solutions been?
  2. colinp macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Having just graduated undergrad a few months ago I would reccomend getting to know and trust your roommate. More than likely they will have a computer themselves, and so it will be mutual benefit for each other to respect each others stuff. That said, communication is, as always, KEY. I always found it a good idea to set ground rules in regards to your belongings with new roommates. I was pretty open about letting my roommate(s) use my computer and never had any problems. Not everyone is that lucky I'm sure, but going into it being highly suspect won't get you far.
  3. Toppa G's macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2003
    The exurbs, MN
    I bought a lock that plugs into the handy little lock hole on the side of my iBook before I started school, and then found I NEVER used it. In my dorm, there was only one stolen laptop in the 3 years I was there, and for the last 2 years, every student had a laptop. Trusting people is what it's about. Or taking it with you for notes, games, etc. :D It usually turns out that everyone is super paranoid at first, and then everyone realizes that nobody wants their stuff anyway. Too risky to steal in a dorm environment.
  4. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2004
    There is only one solution: take it with you 100% of the time. That is all. (This would be a good argument for a 12" powerbook rather than a larger model.)

    Those kensington locks are worthless junk. I've seen them defeated with a ball-point pen (seriously). There's no way to secure a computer in a dorm room - it's too hostile an environment. If there's a security desk, they *might* have a secure area where you could stash it before you go out on your hot date, but of course then you have to trust whoever's behind the desk - usually another student or a minimum wage rent-a-cop.

    In the immortal words of Ice Cube, "buying new fly **** is just like inviting ants to a picnic." Sometimes the price of owning nice things is nice things owning you. (Or at least forcing you to modify your lifestyle.)

  5. mac_gal macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2004
    I'd recommend a combination lock. You can also get a key lock, but I wouldn't recommend that. Everytime you get the key out, your roommate / guests would see where you keep it.

    In my dorm / laptop experience, I'd say to be careful about who touches your computer. Once I let someone use my Sony Vaio. The lid was closed. The girl tried to PRY IT OPEN without using the button to open it!

    What makes the story more disturbing: she had a Sony Vaio, too.
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    The easiest way to keep it safe it to get something you can lock it into, and then make sure that thing is secured to something big. Briefcase, etc. will work fine. Anything lockable.

    You don't need Fort Knox. You just need something that takes more than a few minutes to get into.

    Obviously, you need to be able to trust your roommate. But you can never be sure you can trust everyone who might be able to get into your room.
  7. rstroud macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2004
    I have to say, it depends on the size of the school you go to as well. I go to a school of 2200 students and everyone knows one antoher. Keep your door closed when you're not in the room and you could even buy a locking (half height) file cabinet. This solution worked well for me storage wise, I kept my laptop in there when not in use (for extended periods of time). Just make sure you register it with your insurance provider and TAKE PICTURES. That way, if it does get stolen, you and the insurance company have proof of it. Hope this helps!
  8. nyprospect macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    Im a New Yorker so i trust noone lol.To be safe try to carry it with you all the time.
  9. comictimes macrumors 6502a


    Jun 20, 2004
    Berkeley, California
    I would suggest that you buy one of the locks that plug into the side of your powerbook. Also, there's a program, which I can't remember the name of right now, but it sends the information of where your computer is to a certain website whenever you go online. This means that if someone takes your computer then goes online, you will be able to look online and see where your computer is. I'll edit the post when I remember the name of the program.
  10. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
    I use a standard lock that plugs into the side of my PB. I too will be heading to college this fall. My best friend is my roomate. I'm not worried too much about him leaving the room unlocked. I know my machine is in good hands and i don't have to worry about someone stealing it.
  11. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    well you pretty much need to get to trust you roommate. General there not going to mess with you stuff and they will not touch your computer. the kingston long is not going to stop any one who really wants to steal it. I have one for my laptop and I nevered bother setting it up unless I went to the libary with my laptop then I would lock it to the desk so I could step away for a few and not have to worry much about it. Mostly all the lock does is it will slow some down who wants to take it and generally it enough to keep some from bothering to try to steal it since it makes the chance much greater that they will get cought.

    Hell my room mate and I never really lock our door but general one of us were around quite a bet plus we knew the people in the hall and they would noticed if some was in there that did not belong. Make friends with other people in you hall and that will help keep you stuff safe as well
  12. Demon Hunter thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    Thanks a lot guys, I appreciate all the advice. :cool:
  13. w00tmaster macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2004
    Might not be such a good idea to take it in the shower...
  14. Macmaniac macrumors 68040


    Try buying a Kensington security lock, they work pretty well, but of course nothing can truly stop a determined computer thief even if you have a lock. Thats why bolt cutters were made.
  15. Nspace macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    Or ball point pens; as vga4life pointed out above.
  16. JDOG_ macrumors 6502a


    Nov 19, 2003
    Kensington Locks & Courage...


    I've been at college for three years now with two different laptops in two different countries and haven't had a single problem. The real key is a good lock that's tough for even you to operate, one of the Kensington's is always a good idea & $20-30 well spent--even if it's just for a peice of mind. Make sure your door and windows are locked/closed and get that password screensaver/login thing going so nobody steals your papers (or anything else you might have lurking on the hd).

    In response to what other people have said about roommate relations, that's the key man--make sure you take care of each other's **** or else things can get ugly. Good luck & enjoy that powerbook...the biggest thing you have to worry about is spilling beer on it, which is not a pretty sight.

  17. superbovine macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2003
    If you are really paranoid you can get laptop theft insurance, that will cover you. just google around.

    The best defense is common sense, and having a roomate that will lock your door.
  18. GregUofMN macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2003
    Congrats on heading to the "U". I graduated in Spring of 02 from the UofMN and enjoyed all of it. I lived in Frontier Hall my freshman year and worked in Territorial Hall my junior, senior and super-senior year and gave dorm tours there as well and that was a common question. I always recommended the Kensington lock and renters insurance. I also told them that several laptops get stolen from the dorms every year, and being obsesively overprotective is your best bet. If you live in a double room (which most students do thier first year), you need to keep it locked always, whether you're using it or not AND whether you're in the room or not. You and your roommate will get destracted and walk across the hallway or into the bathroom without locking your door and it will be gone in 2 seconds. Don't bother trying to hide it, just lock it up! And just in case, get renters insurance.

    My wife and I have a $50,000+ policy and we only pay $250/yr. Well worth every penny. And it covers theft, fire, smoke, water damage, etc.
  19. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    he has a point. Laptop are among the highest rated things stolen at school in money value. Simple because they are so easy to walk off with and they are worth a lot so people will just take them. Mostly just keeping it lock up it the best bet. But make friends with people in the hall.

    I go to Texas Tech. First roomate suck and I moved out and got my own room and then a friend moved in as my roommate. In our hall we had what is called the open door policy where if the door was open feel free to come in. General if the door was open that ment I was in the room. I also have another policy in my room where the any drinks I have in the frige you are free to take one to drink. It helps make friends and make life more enjoyible. Plus it keeps your stuff safer because people who dont belong in around you room are going to be stop by others in the hall.
  20. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2003
    Home of Al-Qaida
    Just microsaver it at all times. People don't go around w/ bolt cutters in their back pocket or jacket, nor do they carry LN2 in a thermos. Went would be thieves see a locked notebook, they'll just move to the next target, where people are actually stupid enough to leave it unattended and unlocked.
  21. yamabushi macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2003
    Some dorms include desks with locking drawers. I suggest you keep your laptop locked inside when not in use. Theft is a possibility but accidental damage is an even greater risk. Don't assume that others will care for and respect your belongings. You may also want to use a password to prevent others from snooping around.
  22. Finiksa macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2003
    A cable lock is probably the only real option, it won't prevent someone from stealing the PB but should work as a deterrent.

    The MicroSaver® Guaranteed Notebook Replacement gives you up to $1500 theft insurance if someone does cut the cable, not bad insurance for $55.
  23. MrSugar macrumors 6502a


    Jul 28, 2003
    I have safeware insurance, for my 17". It was $120 a year for $2000 of coverage, and I know Colorado has one of the higher prices compared to other states.

    It covers everything from accidental damage to theft... that is the only real peace of mind I was able to have. After my first year of college I realized that I take my PB with me EVERYWHERE... but this makes it more of a target than less of one. At times it would be in my backpack where someone could easily just pick it up and walk off. I got sick of always having to worry about it, and to me $120 to protect my investment is worth it by far. It also makes me feel better that if I spill a drink on it or drop it... it will be covered.

    somewhat of an expensive option but I really didn't feel peace of mind until I got insurance.
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    People are so paranoid. Seriously. Just lock your laptop to something big, and you'll be fine. I know everyone who lives in my building (there are 3 buildings at my residence/dorm), and trust them all. I leave my door open, as does everyone else. Many of us have laptops. Sometimes I use my lock, and sometimes I don't. When I do, I attach it to the pipe of my sink, or sometimes to a towel rack attached to a wall that they could easily unscrew from the wall. As long as its a deterrent, they won't make a 2nd effort to get at your laptop when there are so many people WITHOUT locks.

    We're ALL worried about people taking our sheeit, but if we all have the same fears, its probably because we're not thieves. I have never had a problem with trust, but I guess its better to be on the safe side. Again, we ALL leave our doors wide open, then go take showers and such. I once went to Sydney for 2 days and left my door wide open. When I came back, I saw it open and freaked, but then I realized that I was just being an idiot. People just left my door open. Scary stuff, but they really don't touch your stuff. ;)
  25. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    You might want to look at Pac-Safe ( This will allow you to "lock" the laptop in a "cage" to something that is not easily movabale

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